Royal commemorative head, Edo, Benin Kingdom,... - Lot 48 - Binoche et Giquello

Lot 48
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Estimation :
130000 - 150000 EUR
Royal commemorative head, Edo, Benin Kingdom,... - Lot 48 - Binoche et Giquello
Royal commemorative head, Edo, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria
Probably 19th century
Bronze, lost wax casting
H. 39 cm
Royal commemorative head, Edo, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria
H. 15 1/3 in
Provenance:
- Collection of William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), press magnate and politician who inspired Orson Welles' Citizen Kane.
- Galerie Ratton-Hourdé (2004)
- Private collection
This head is a representation of an Oba, as shown in the Ede Royal Crown, the udahae headband and the 28-row high odigba necklace of coral beads.
On either side of the head are wing-shaped projections (a ceremonial feather or sword pattern) and two other projections curl forward. The base of the collar-shaped head, which has a guilloche pattern around the circumference, contains many cosmogonic motifs.
The different types of projections and the collar are characteristic of 19th-century Oba heads.
On the collar, among the various motifs relating to the mystical powers of the Oba, we can find:
- a celt called in bini "thunder axe", an object sent from heaven by the god of death Ogiuwu
- a cow's head, a mask of wealth that is part of the offerings during important sacrifices
- an elephant's trunk ending in a human hand holding leaves corresponding to the magic herbs that allow to defeat his enemy.
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