Rare Antique African Cast Bronze Benin Rooster sculpture

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Seller: tribalvirtu (915) 100%, Location: Mount Arlington, New Jersey, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 192220599249 Rare Antique African Bronze Benin Rooster sculptureFrom the old private collection.This is a rare, museum quality authentic artifact (circa 1800s) . The item is about 11" tall in excellent antique condition. This extraordinary well preserved Bronze of the Benin Kingdom in what is now Nigeria exhibits a virtuosity and sophistication of style that has astonished the Western world since they were visited in the 15th century. Their work was brought to Europe following a punitive expedition by the British in 1897, causing a great sensation. The people of Benin, called Bini, are descendant from the Ife, also known for their remarkable Bronze. Almost all Benin art was created to honor the King. or Oba and Queen Mothers. Roosters stand for fowl and other animals that are sacrificed during rituals honoring royal ancestors. These explicitly male creatures acknowledge that the queen mother is different from other women and shares many powers and privileges with men. While roosters are sacrificed, they also make a loud noise and fight. The Benin people say, "where the rooster crows there is a village." In the Benin kingdom, the rooster is described as the leader of the barnyard and a spy, and is used in anti-poisoning charms (it must be mature enough to have developed fighting spurs). Its name is also given to the king's senior wife who is in charge of the women. The Benin Kingdom was strong through out the 15th and 16th Centuries and was located in West Africa bordering what is now Nigeria and Togo. Benin Clans were ruled by a King which was known as the Oba and who was the divine ruler of the Benin people. The people of Benin are called Bini and are descended from the Ife peoples. The making of these Benin bronzes were strictly considered court art and were made exclusively for the palace of the Oba and were designed to venerate the achievements and memories of the Obas and their Queens also called Iyobas or Queen Mothers who ruled through out the time of the kingdom. The metalsmiths were very talented and used complex wax casting techniques which were far ahead of their time. Their work in bronze, copper and iron was extremely refined and their methods of metal smelting, forging and lost wax methods exceeded any seen in Europe until the 19th century. Lost-wax casting sometimes called by the French name of cire perdue (from the Latin cera perduta) is the process by which a brass or bronze sculpture is cast from an artist's carving usually made from wax. Very intricate works can be achieved with this method, depending on the carver's skills. The powerful ancient Benin kingdom was founded by the son of an Ife king in the early 14th century AD. It was situated in the forest area of southern Nigeria, 106 miles southeast of Ife. The art of bronze casting was introduced around the year 1280. The kingdom reached its maximum size and artistic splendor in the 15th and 16th century. For a long time the Benin bronze sculptures were the only historical evidence dating back several centuries into the West African past, and both the level of technical accomplishment attained in bronze casting, as well as the monumental vigor of the figures represented, were the object of great admiration. Benin bronzes are better known than the artworks from Ife or Owo due to their presence in Western museums since 1890s. In the thirteenth century, the city of Benin was an agglomeration of farms enclosed by walls and a ditch. Each clan was subject to the oba (king). The “Benin style” is a court art from the palace of the oba, and has nothing in common with tribal art. The Benin oba employed a guild of artisans who all lived in the same district of the city. Bronze figures ordered by the king were kept in the palace. The empire flourished until 1897, when the palace was sacked by the English in reprisal for an ambush that had cost the British vice-consul his life. The numerous commemorative bronze heads, free-standing figures and groups, plaques in relief, bells and rattle-staffs, small expressive masks and plaquettes worn on the belt as emblem of offices; chests in the shape of palaces, animals, cult stands, jewelry, etc. cast by Benin metalworkers were created for the royal palace. The heads were placed on the altars of kings, of brass caster corporation chiefs and dignitaries. The altar functioned as a tribute to the deceased and a point of contact with his spirit. Using the bells and rattle stuffs to call the ancestor’s spirit, the oba offered sacrifices to him and to the earth on the altar. The majority of figures represented court officials, equestrian figures, warriors, army commanders, queens, and roosters, most elaborately decorated human masks, animals, beakers, spoons, gongs, trumpets, arm ornaments, covered with bands in figured relief. The representations of these objects served above all to exalt the king, the queen mother, the princes and royal household, army commanders, shown with their arms and armor and their retainers (huntsmen, musicians), or alternatively depicted important events. When British forces entered Benin City in 1897 they were surprised to find large quantities of cast brass objects. The technological sophistication and overwhelming naturalism of these pieces contradicted many 19th-century Western assumptions about Africa in general and Benin – regarded as the home of ‘fetish’ and human sacrifice – in particular. Explanations were swiftly generated to cover the epistemological embarrassment. The objects must, it was supposed, have been made by the Portuguese, the Ancient Egyptians, even the lost tribe of Israel. Subsequent research has tended to stress the indigenous origins of West African metallurgy. Yet it was the naturalism that proved decisive. Their status was marked by the establishment of the term ‘Benin bronzes’. Following the bloody British punitive expedition to Nigeria, about three thousand bronze and wooden objects were consigned to the Western world. At that time, western scholars and artists were stunned by the quality and magnificence of these objects, more than 1,000 bronze plaques were appropriated from the oba’s palace. Dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, these plaques were secreted in a storage room. It is thought that they were nailed to palace walls and pillars as a form of decoration or as references to protocol. They show the oba in full regalia along with his nobility, warriors and Portuguese traders. The most elaborate ones display a procession of up to nine people, while others depict only fish or birds. The majority of everyday Benin objects were made for and associated with court ceremonies. The figures of a leopard were the sole property of the oba – the leopard was the royal animal. Pectorals, hip and waist ornaments in the shape of human or animal heads were worn either by the oba or by major dignitaries. Bronze staffs and clippers surmounted by birds appeared during commemorating ceremonies. SHIPPING CHARGES INCLUDE USPS PRIORITY MAIL, FULL SHIPPING INSURANCE, SIGNATURE CONFIRMATION Due to the antique/vintage nature of our items, we encourage our buyers to carefully read the description and measurements of the item to avoid any disappointments ,there might be some slight imperfections, most likely they will show flaws consistent with ware, ages, and use which only add character and charm to the items. Each item is described and photographed as accurately as possible. If you have any question about any particular item, please contact me before you purchase, We are more than happy and willing to answer any questions you may have. International Buyers – Please Note: Import duties, taxes, and charges are not included in the item price or shipping cost. These charges are the buyer's responsibility.Please check with your country's customs office to determine what these additional costs will be prior to bidding or buying. Condition: Excellent Antique Condition, Color: Brown, Material: Bronze, Original/Reproduction: Original, Tribe: Benin

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