This striking Benin bronze head represents a warrior with a Portuguese helmet. The face is of a younger man, with rounded features, wide-open eyes with raised rims, a short nose and very full lips that are slightly parted, while each cheek is decorated with three “whiskers” that originate at either side of the mouth to honor the leopard, one of the main symbols in Benin art. At the round chin there is a neatly trimmed small chin beard. As if the warrior would not trust the magic protection of the European helmet alone, there are three African arrows attached to it and a fine braid emerges from under the helmet. Most unusually, the apex of the head is open to receive a tusk – as a connection to heaven. The neck and base of the piece is made up of numerous lines of fine beading.
TL Analysis Kotalla 400 years +/- 18 percent.
According to the UNESCO Convention of 1970, a claim for repatriation expires one year after the authorities of a country of origin have learned where and with whom a cultural object is located. Wolfgang Jaenicke Gallery therefore always informs about every newly imported object. Especially about the bronzes from Nigeria shown on this page, which are published in the internet and are accessible to everyone. Organizations dealing with restitution issues, but also freelance art historians employed by the state, such as restitution experts like Benedicte Savoy, are regularly informed about objects in the Galerie Wolfgang Jaenicke.
Every buyer of an art object, regardless whether it is made of wood, terra-cotta or bronze, must be aware that from a European legal perspective, traditional African art usually came from the respective African country of origin with insufficient export documents. Galerie Wolfgang Jaenicke, Berlin, tries to do justice to this dilemma by acting with the greatest possible transparency. The export policy of African states is problematic for art historical research, since African and European dealers usually work covertly due to diffuse legal situations and important information that was passed on from trade to science before 1970 tends to be lost.
In case of uncertainties, please contact the managing director of Jaenicke-Njoya GmbH, Wolfgang Jaenicke. It is in the interest of the gallery to clarify any questionable situation with all available means.
Height: 27,5 cm
Weight: 2,8 kg