Galerie Peter Herrmann
Ancient Art from Africa
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Head Iviovor

Head of a Person called Iviovor Edion Edo Thermoluminescence-Report
Benin-City, Nigeria
19th century
27 cm


Oral tradition dates this object, one of the small memorial heads once housed in the Obaseki shrine, to the year 1884. It is said to have been made in memory of a well-known figure from Benin, presented to us as "Iviovor Edion Edo," aide-de-camp of the exiled Oba after 1900. Unfortunately, a TL analysis is not available to confirm this date as it is in the case of the other three heads because the remains found of a potential clay core are not geologically (i.e. TL) measurable.

Stylistically, this head is closely aligned with early heads from Benin, featuring a coral cap, single pearl on the forehead, bulging coral collar and hanging pearl plaits. The face, however, features characteristics more reminiscent of Benin's later, more realistic phase of bronze casting and, furthermore, is smaller than the 16 th -century heads. The typical hole in the back of the head is still present, but its function as a stand for holding ivory was rendered obsolete by the shape of the cast.


Links to the other three objects from the shrine of Obaseki
Ife-Style Head Moro Ife-Style-Head General Ekeghugu Ahnekpo

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