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African Benin Bronze Altar Head

Lot 1 View Catalog


Early 20th century AD. A cast bronze archaistic altar head with conical base and finely-modelled facial features, braided hair above; the forehead with two open slots and vertical raised ichi scars; the top of the head open to accept a carved ivory tusk; the neck with integral stylised neck-rings. 4.1 kg, 29 cm (11 1/2"). The tradition of casting bronze life-size heads dates back several centuries in West Africa, where such objects formed part of religious and state ceremonial. Examples were brought to Europe following a punitive expedition by the British in 1897, and caused a sensation in the art world. The casting is believed to have been made soon after production of such cultural artefacts resumed at the close of the First World War, probably in the early 1920s. UK private collection, acquired in the 1950s. [No Reserve]


Fine condition.
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Estimate £300 – £500
Starting Bid £5

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live auction started on
Uk Auction
1:00 AM - Feb 09, 2013
TimeLine Auctions Ltd.


23-24 Berkeley Square
London, W1J 6HE
United Kingdom

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