Tribal art > African bronze > Benin Plate
Benin Plate (N° 14394)
This bronze plaque will be accompanied by its certificate of analysis from the German laboratory Ralf Kotalla. According to scientific expertise, the piece is estimated at the beginning of the 19th century. The plate is thick, locally pierced.
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Before the destruction of the palace of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, the divine character of kings, the Oba , was illustrated by multiple works celebrating their power. In African tribal art, glorifying war scenes were reproduced on narrative plates, in bronze, and affixed to the walls. Sumptuous bronze altars, commemorative figures of deceased chefs, majestic felines, heavy bracelets, hairs and recades were produced in quantity in many workshops of smelters according to the technique of cast iron with lost wax. During the 16th century, the Oba Esigie commissioned the first copper alloy plates, a metal to which particular properties were attributed, with an embossed ornamentation. Many of them were cast in pairs to symmetrically decorate the pillars or walls of the palace. Olfert Dapper describes these plaques in a book published in 1668 in Holland, based on the accounts of travellers marvelling at the art of the Benin court. This bronze sculpture was made using the lost wax technique. It features three richly dressed main characters, characteristic of palace dignitaries including the Oba, in the centre, wearing the ceremonial sword eben and a command scepter, accompanied by four miniature subjects. The background is decorated with spiral patterns in relief.
This item is sold with its certificate of authenticity
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|Estimated dating||circa 1800 (19°)|
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