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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Edo Pendant Plaque, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria
Estimate
5,0007,000
LOT SOLD. 20,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
17

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

Edo Pendant Plaque, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria
Estimate
5,0007,000
LOT SOLD. 20,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

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New York

Edo Pendant Plaque, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria

Provenance

Sir Ralph Furse, Halsdon House, Dolton, Devon
Patrick Furse, Halsdon House, Dolton, Devon, by descent from the above
Sotheby's, London, July 12, 1977, lot 169, consigned by the above
Hélène Kamer, New York, acquired at the above auction
American Private Collection, acquired from the above

Catalogue Note

This fine fragment from a pendant plaque would have originally have been composed of a triad of figures, with a central character (on the right here), flanked by attendants who support his hands. The left edge of the plaque is finely pierced for crotal bells, and there is a well worn suspension loop on the back of the head of the 'central' figure. This 'central figure' wears a necklace from which a large object is suspended. This motif is an important characteristic of triad pendant plaques, and according to Paula Ben-Amos it may represent 'the great bead' or a 'ball of medicine'. (Ben-Amos & Rubin, The Art of Power, 1983, p. 100).

The depiction of a triad is common in Benin art and usually hierarchical in form, with the central figure, representing the King, or Oba, differentiated from his less important attendants. The corpus of pendant plaques, however, generally departs from this convention. Here the figures are similarly attired; the top of the skirt is indicated on both, and they wear the same close fitting tunics and collars of coral, and the same beaded crowns with beaded shafts. The significance of this is unclear, and the literature offers no information as to the function of these objects. We know that other types of Edo pendants were sent to vassals of the Oba as 'emblems of their authority' (Ben-Amos, The Art of Benin, 1980, p. 18). However there are no reports of any of this type outside of Benin, and as they are not depicted on objects which chronicle the achievements of the Obas, they may have been 'used in a private context', outside of the 'propagandist' purpose of other pendants. (Ben-Amos & Rubin, ibid., p. 101).

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

|
New York