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Commemorative Head of an Oba

1800-1850

Trophy heads made of bronze are common forms of art from the Kingdom of Benin. Placed on altars in the palace of the ruler, the Oba, they represented royal ancestors, not in the form of realistic portraits, but as a materialisation of the royal figure of divine origin, with the head seen as the seat of wisdom. Produced using the lost-wax technique, the trophy heads were generally used to support decorated elephant tusks, explaining the presence of a cavity on the top of the head.

Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: Thierry Ollivier

Artwork Details

Title: Commemorative Head of an Oba
Geography: Ancient Kingdom of Benin (Nigeria)
Date: 1800-1850

Medium: bronze

Classification: sculpture
Dimensions: 51 x 34 x 31 cm
Inventory number: LAD 2015.036
Contact for images: images@louvreabudhabi.ae

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