Benin Kingdom Cast Brass Altar Bell West Africa

Certified Price

$345 Or best offer




Posted on May 15, 2018.

A beautiful and rare example of a Benin Kingdom Altar Bell from the City of Edo in what is now part of Southern Nigeria. The bell is quadrangular in form and cast in the lost wax method, decorated with geometric incisions on all four sides, and raised hatched designs on the edges with the front having a raised loop emblem. As with most Ethnographic artwork age is difficult to determine due to lack of historical written documentation. An excerpt from Wikipedia "The Benin Empire was a pre-colonial empire located in what is now southern Nigeria. Its capital was Edo, now known as Benin City, Edo. It should not be confused with the modern-day country called Benin, formerly called Dahomey. The Benin Empire was “one of the oldest and most highly developed states in the coastal hinterland of West Africa, dating perhaps to the eleventh century CE”,2 until it was annexed by the British Empire in 1897."

For a similar bell please see DuMouchelles auction house in Detroit, Friday, December 13, 2013, Lot 120139, BENIN KINGDOM BRASS CAST ALTAR BELL, with a hammer price of $900.00, plus the 23% buyer’s premium.

This bell is nice and heavy and appears to retain its original iron clapper. It is very old dating at least to the 19th century but possibly dating as far back as the eleventh century CE. The condition is overall very good with normal signs of age, wear and use including chipping, losses and patination. It measures 4" tall and the base is 2" by 2 1/8". Please view all of the photographs and e-mail me with any questions – the photographs are considered an integral part of the written description.

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