Benin Bronze Figure Court Dwarf Edo People Africa 27.5 Inches H.

Benin Bronze Figure Court Dwarf Edo People Africa 27.5 Inches H.

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Benin Bronze Figure Court Dwarf Edo People Africa 27.5 Inches H.:

TitleBenin Bronze Figure Court Dwarf Edo People Nigeria Africa 27.5 Inches Type of ObjectBenin BronzeCountry of OriginNigeriaPeopleEdo people from Benin KingdomMaterialsbronzeApproximate AgeUnknownDimensions 27.5 inches height x 11 inches width x 9.5 inches depthOverall ConditionFair to good. Most ofour pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners. Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use. We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings. Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.Damage/RepairSmall holes, dents, chips, casting flaws

Additional Information: 

The figure represents a dwarf at the court of Benin.  In Edo culture dwarfs were known as the jugglers and acrobats in the Oba court. Sculptures dating back in time (14th -15th century) have served as the model for this figure especially similar figures worked in a realistic style  using the famous lost wax technique. The dwarf Benin figure is recognized by its over sized head, its stocky (squat) body, its short arms and legs. The patterns on the torso and on the skirt are familiar to the cast bronze plaques dating back as early as the 15th century. Though related to late works a close stylistic examination make this most probably a late 20th century example of the metal working tradition in Nigeria.  This sculpture is a replica of those early classic forms found in Benin and executed with skill and attention to detail. As in many ancient courts around the world, the myth of dwarfs has captured the attention of people. The king Oba court of Edo people in the Kingdom of Benin is not an exception.  In ancient time, a dwarf was considered as the magician, the clown, the trickster, or the buffoon of the court. His role was to entertain  the court  by his juggling and acrobat performances.  In the Oba court sculptures representing  dwarfs were displayed in the court shrine along with other representations of attendants, musicians, etc...

That this is a replica cannot be doubted, but what is important to note is that the skill of the Nigerian bronze and brass casters of today who cast this figure continue a tradition nearly 500 years old at Benin and have not lost their skill in producing interesting works of art.

Recommended Reading:

Augustus Pitt-Rivers, Antique Works of Art From Benin, 1900

Hagen, Dr. K., Altertumer von Benin, Jahrbuch der Hamburgischesen  Wissenschaftlichen Anstalten, V. XVII, 1900.

H. Ling Roth, Great Benin, Its Customs, Art and Horrors, 1903 (1968).

Dark, P. J. C., W. & B. Foreman, Benin Art, 1960.

Dark, P. J.C., An Introduction to Benin Art and Technology, 1973.

Ben-Amos, P. The Art of Benin, 1980.

Freyer, B., Royal benin Art, 1987.

Ezra, K., Royal Art of Benin, The Perls Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992.

Duchateau, A., Benin, Royal Art of Africa from the Museum fur Volkerkunde, Vienna, 1994.

I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.



All content, including pictures, Copyright Africa Direct Inc., 2006

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Benin Bronze Figure Court Dwarf Edo People Africa 27.5 Inches H.:

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