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A Benin bronze oil lamp

A Benin bronze oil lamp

Regular price €2.500,00 EUR
Regular price Sale price €2.500,00 EUR
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A Benin bronze oil lamp consisting of a shallow bowl, which is decorated with two rows of precisely incised waves and animal heads on the underneath. Riveted to the bowl are thin ornate bands, to every second of which is an animal head attached. On a flat disc, where the ribbons meet at the top, stands a bronze figure about 19 cm high, depicting a Portuguese man wearing boots, trousers and a thin undergarment and above that a long buttoned and belted coat. His arms are slightly bent, in both hands he carries a rooster, on his head sits a wide-brimmed hat. The trousers, undergarments, coat and roosters are decorated with very fine different geometric patterns. Under the hat appears a three-parted coiffure. The precisely worked face has an astonished expression due to the large eyes and the full, slightly open mouth. The hanging moustache and the short wavy chin beard are also designed differently. On the head of the Portuguese is a chain mounted with a large hook at the other end, which was used to hang the lamp from the ceiling. But between the hook and the braided chain decorated with circles, there is another smaller figure. It is a male figure in a loincloth decorated with squares and dots, around his neck he wears a heavy necklace, his hands with the fingers stretched out, rest on his abdomen. His coffee-bean-shaped eyes protrude, the nose has wide wings and the lips are full, the helmet-like hairstyle is ornate with checks.

These oil lamps hung in the shrines of the palaces. The Oba of Benin has numerous shrines because he maintains unique relationships with the spiritual world. Thus, there are deities that are assigned to him alone and others that he attends to together with certain social groups. Such exclusive connections characterize the uniqueness of the Oba, which is also reflected in the materials used and the iconography of the artefacts. The precious bronze was reserved for the king and his court. This is the case for the commemorative heads as well as for other objects such as our oil lamp.

Lit.: Barbara Plankensteiner (Hg.), Benin. Könige und Rituale. Höfische Kunst aus Nigeria, 2007, 131-139, Abb. 4.

1.000 - 1.200,- Euro

Height: 62 cm / 103 cm with chain
Weight: 3,3 kg

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