Another form of African Art is the beautiful work created by craftsmen to produce Bronzes. Some of these bronzes can be dated to as far back as the 9th century A.D. The term bronze in this context is used to cover the casting using copper as a base but combining varying amounts of other metals. Imported metals were generally used for several centuries. A process called the ‘Lost Wax’ method would be used to produce many beautiful, elaborate and detailed artefacts. Perhaps the more recognised of the African bronzes are the ‘Benin Bronzes’.
Crafted items in bronze would include statues/figures, vessels in the form of urns, bronze masks, animal sculpture especially the leopard, pendants, pipe bowls, bracelets, rings, manila bangles to name a few. Manilas as they became known were used as a slave trade currency.
Usage of bronze items would be varied. Pots in the form as urns would be used to store valuable possessions such as gold dust. Bronze pots at ceremonies played an important part to maintain the spiritual wellbeing of those who owned them. A sign of wealth and hierarachy with in the tribe bronzes were the adornment of the kings.
African bronzes have been around for centuries and many of them have retained their crafted beauty so we can view and be inspired by such wonderful tribal pieces.
This wonderful and captivating pair of Edan Markers show all the characteristics that typify such fascinating items. They are made from a clay composite and then completely encased with a brass, bronze alloy
Horsemen are remainders of the fact that, according to myth, the horse was the first animal present on earth. They would bring honour to the ancestors, the current leadership and the owner of the sculpture. Although rare, horsemen as icon have existed for 1000 years in Mali.
Queen Idia, mother of Oba Esigie, king of Benin from the late fifteenth to the early sixteenth century, played a key role in her son's military campaigns against the Igala people, which may have been over control of the Niger waterway.
A very unusual and beautifully styled Asante brass urn / vessel. This item of the Asante / Ashanti is one that we have never come across before and do not know what it would be used for
This beautiful Benin bronze leopard head is old, late 19th - early 20th Century.
This stunning late 19th / early 20th Century Dogon bronze crown would only be ever worn by the Hogon of the village during rituals.