Head (Uhunmwun Elao)

A work made of brass.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of brass.

Date:

18th/early 19th century

Artist:

Edo, Kingdom of Benin
Nigeria
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

This commanding brass head served as the elaborate pedestal for a sculpted elephant tusk. It was commissioned by a newly enthroned oba to stand on an altar commemorating a previous oba, probably his father. The oba of Benin rules by divine right and is the channel through which his deified royal ancestors vitalize and protect the kingdom. In Benin, the head is a prominent symbol that refers to a person's ability to move successfully through life and to become a productive ancestor. This head's high, beaded collar and netlike cap depict an oba's coral regalia.

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Arts of Africa

Artist

Edo

Title

Head (Uhunmwun Elao)

Origin

Benin, Kingdom of

Date

1701–1825

Medium

Brass

Dimensions

H. 32.4 cm (12 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Major Acquisitions Centennial Endowment

Reference Number

2003.16

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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