Commemorative head of royal ancestor Oba Bini / Edo
Kingdom of Benin (Nigeria)
H.: 41.5 cm.
Cylindrical object melted with lost wax representing a head resting on a neck surrounded by
rows of engraved pearls that go up to under the upper lip, characteristic of commemorative heads. The face has large almond-shaped eyes surrounded by round scarification and keloids. The head is crowned with a basketry-look headdress inlaid with pointed appendages
The Oba is the ruler of the Kingdom of Benin. His first duty was to erect an ancestor's altar to his deceased father and, for this occasion, to melt a commemorative head for him. These altars were located in a specific area of the palace and served to commemorate the royal ancestors as well as to legitimize the living sovereign.
Object made specifically for colonial trade with an obvious decorative interest.
Consultant : Jean-Pierre LACOSTE
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