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HOME : Decorative Arts : African Sculptures : Benin Style Ivory Hip Ornament
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Benin Style Ivory Hip Ornament - PF.5364
Origin: West Africa
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 8.75" (22.2cm) high x 3.75" (9.5cm) wide
Collection: Decorative Arts
Medium: Ivory

$6,000.00
Location: United States
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Description
Benin hip ornaments in brass or ivory adhere to certain formal stylistic details, such as seen on this handsome mask. The finely carved face is a study in composure and authority befitting a chief. His headdress is composed of a pattern of concentric circles with a crenulated edge intersected by holes. A decorative flange surrounds the face in a flowing design of intertwining strands, with small holes in the center and on the sides. Beneath the chin is a series of three horizontal bands of small rectangles resembling a collar of coral beads. All these attributes are associated with hip ornaments worn by chiefs. On the forehead are two groups of four short vertical lines on either side of a central broad band representing keloid scarification known as ikharo (meaning “tribal marks”). Of particular interest is a face on the reverse created by incised lines in an abstract form with a tongue depicted in low relief. During important ceremonies chiefs and titleholders wear the ornament on the left hip covering the closure of their wrapped skirts. They are symbols of power, wealth and a testimony to the artistic skills of Benin artists. - (PF.5364)

 

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