1st half of the 20th century - Great condition
Provenance: private collection, United Kingdom.
Dimensions : 15 x 18 cm.
Weight: 2,4 kilograms.
Material: African bronze.
This bronze recipient with a flat bottom has the same shape as the pots in terracotta, they are a more prestigious version, intended to the sanctuaries of the palace. They probably contained ritual products and the two handles might indicate that it was destined to be hung. Many bronze recipients in similar forms were found, but they present other ornamental motifs.
This item is decorated with a snake, a face and other stylised representations. This iconography is related to Osun, the deity who personifies medicine, who has altars that are usually strewn with pots containing water, renowned to attract snakes.
Nevadomsky reports that soldiers or people dealing with unreliable interlocutors sprinkled themselves with it. He also reminds that many venomous snakes, such as the spitting cobra, the black cobra, the eastern green mamba, the boomslang and the nocturnal viper, are associated to ritual experts and to preparations for war.
Ben-Amos points out that in period of war, as well as for the enthronement of a new Oba, all the frogs of the rivers of the kingdom were brought into the sanctuary of war, located in the palace. A magic concoction was made out of them and was used to sprinkle oneself with it.
Bibliography: Collectif (2007). “Bénin cinq siècles d'art royal” (Benin, five centuries of royal art). Snoeck editions, p. 424.
Insured shipment with track and trace.
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