African Bronzes

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’.
Our bronzes collection

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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 of 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.

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