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A Bronze head in the style of Benin, with ringed neck, delicately carved features, almond shape eyes wide open, coiffed with a panther, mouth wide open; remnants of blackened pigments. TL analysis on request is available.

This head, which cannot be classified in any of the categories listed by Digital Benin, neither among the so-called Ivbiotọ (decapitated heads of former Benin vassals) nor among the Uhunmwu-Elao (The commemorative head of an Ọba), is probably a high-ranking nobleman, special power is expressed by a crocodile on the head. We already had a similar head with a leopard on top, which due to its stylistic similarity could have been made by the same artist or workshop. Although the ears - as an important "graph" - are different.

The surface is not the same.
In one case there is a heavily encrusted oxidation patina and in the other case a patina that expresses a well-maintained condition and suggests that this head had its place on an altar. This bronze also shows remains of a dark color, which is unusual when compared to other bronzes in museums. However, it should be borne in mind that most museum bronzes were "restored" in the 1960s and 1970s in a way that was more focused on their magnificent appearance than on a continous history of their surface. At that time, an attempt was made to get close to the “original condition” at the time the bronzes were created. Anything that didn't fit into this mental image of the original state was removed.

An argument often made by archaeologists, that the context of the find would be lost in the case of accidental finds or illegal excavations, was strangely completely ignored in many museum restorations of earlier decades.
The fact that even objects whose origin is unknown contain important information about their history through their surface properties has only recently been recognized by science.

Nowadays, “science” is hopefully more careful when it comes to dealing with “patina”. wj

A Benin Bronze head with a stylized panther on top, heavy encrusted and oxidised patina, extremly thinwalled, partly pierced through. Height: 24 cm.

sold

Height: 23 cm
Weight: 1,6 kg

_XBD118483
photo: wolfgang-jaenicke.com, for more information, please write us an e-mail with the identification number of the photo identification no. _XBD118483.jpg
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