A Benin bronze rattle-staff

30,000.00

In stock

Category: SKU: WMJ02881

Description

A Benin bronze rattle-staff in two parted segments, indicated by the similarity of the bronze staff Kate Ezra mentioned (photo).
Felix von Luschan, die Altertümer Benins, Band 1, 47. Kapitel, Seite 446, Große Stäbe, “Stammbäume”, Rasselstäbem baumähnliche Ständerr usw.

30.000 – 36.000,- Euro

Height: 166 cm incl. stand 174 cm
Weight: 
12,8 kg

More picture

These staffs are from the Benin culture.

benin rattle staff

They represent authority that is passed down in families, villages, priests or successors in general.They would be used as parts of ancestral altars to commemorate current and past leaders.  These were carved from wood for everyone except the Oba’s who would have them casted from brass and sometimes from ivory. 

benin bronze rattle staff altar

unknown photographer ,in the background two bronze rattle staffs, Benin City May 189, source Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.

On the top of the staffs there would be a slit that would house a wood or clay cylindrical rattle.  This rattle was used to call attention to spirits so that they would come to their altar and make themselves present.  These staffs were lined up by the altar where they symbolized the community and the continuity from generations of being passed down.  On the Oba’s staff there are often figures or mudfish represented.  It’s also said that the spirits from past Oba’s are housed within the staff and continue to be passed on.

[1] Kate Ezra, Royal Art of Benin, (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992), 91-96.

Additional information

Weight 12.8 kg