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Benin Bronze Memorial Head from The Nelson Rockefeller Collection 1978


Benin Bronze Memorial Head from the Nelson Rockefeller Collection, 1978. The sculpture is stamped on the back. 'The Nelson Rockefeller Collection' was a line of about 100 high quality pieces of furniture and objects reproduced from the originals he owns. The prices ranged from $ 75 for a small teapot up to $ 7,500 for a bronze sculpture. His intention was to made rare or exceptional pieces of art accessible to the broader public. The Benin culture is known for creating superb bronze sculptures to honor its Obas (or kings). In this case, the Oba is shown wearing a hat and a multi-strand coral-bead necklace, with another coral bead on his forehead. Brought across the Sahara from the Mediterranean Sea, coral was the sole property of the king and symbolized his power through his control of international trade. Memorial heads such as this were meant to capture the essence of the Oba's power, and were placed on shrines with other important objects. A hole in the top of the head would have held a carved elephant tusk chronicling the activities of the honored Oba.


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  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use.
  • Dimensions

    H 10.5 in. x W 7 in. x D 7 in.

    H 26.67 cm x W 17.78 cm x D 17.78 cm

  • Seller location
    Westport, CT
  • Reference number

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