**Originally Listed At $600**
West Africa, Nigeria, Benin Empire, ca. 19th century CE. A large pipe with an openwork shank and a large figural bowl. The bowl is in the form of a deeply jowly human face with large eyes, heavy brows, a big nose, and a small mouth. Projecting from the top of the pipe are the stylized heads of two birds, long-necked and -beaked, with a crest. Size: 3.6" W x 10.5" H (9.1 cm x 26.7 cm); 11.7" H (29.7 cm) on included custom stand.
Benin's best known work are its bronzes. Benin's artisans came from a class of guildsmen who lived in groups close to royal authority and produced prestige objects like this pipe for wealthy, often royal patrons. By the late 19th century, this included the occupying British and other Europeans - who were amazed by the high quality of such objects because of their attitudes towards Africa and Africans.
Provenance: private New Orleans, Louisiana, USA collection
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