A Benin brass pendant, Court of Benin, Edo, Nigeria, late 18th/early 19th Century 16 x 9.3cm
Lot 321
A Benin brass pendant,
Court of Benin, Edo, Nigeria, late 18th/early 19th Century. 16 x 9.3cm
Sold for £2,750 (US$ 4,453) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Benin brass pendant,
Court of Benin, Edo, Nigeria, late 18th/early 19th Century.
cast in relief with a large crocodile lying on a punch-decorated and floral field, framed by looped border, 16 x 9.3cm

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private collection, Washington D.C.
    Private collection, UK.

    Cf. Kate Ezra, Royal Art of Benin, The Perls Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992, pp. 153, for a discussion of brass pendants of various designs. Semicircular pendants are hung from the waist, rather than the hip or breast, and are generally cast with images of animals or figures. The crocodile is symbol of Olokun, god of oceans and rivers, and source therefore of wealth and fecundity. It acts as his enforcer, punishing wrongdoers by overturning their canoes. Pendants are suspended by a loop at the centre top edge, sadly now missing from this lot, as are the chain and bell tassels that hang from the looped border.

    Accompanied by Metallurgical Analysis R1872, by Dr Peter Northover, Oxford, establishing the date of manufacture as likely to be late 18th/early 19th Century.
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