Galerie Peter Herrmann

Ancient Art from Africa
Portuguese marksman Benin. Nigeria

Photo: Peter Herrmann

Thermoluminescence - Expertise

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Portuguese marksman
Benin, Nigeria
appr. 1850
44 cm
Portuguese marksman:

A Portuguese soldier with 16th/17th century equipment stands pointing a crossbow on an ornamented base with a central shaft. In this typical soft-kneed representation, the details of the equipment are particularly interesting. Many old representations are crudely rendered, whereas this figure is highly nuanced. A finely crafted holder for the crossbow is mounted on the right pant leg, which reaches below the knee. The weapons, dress and helmet are elaborately ornamented, and details of the crossbow are reproduced exactly. Though rendered in typical Benin style, the solider has European features like, for example, a pronounced hook nose.

At 160 years, it is very young for this type of representation. The reddish patina is well evolved, and the object is in very good condition. A captivating design makes this unusual piece a rarity.

Similar objects :  
Die Altertümer von Benin. Felix von Luschan. 1919

Europäer. S. 32-57 und S. 287-289. Tafel 71