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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Archive : Yoruba Bronze Ritual Bell in the Form of a Face
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Yoruba Bronze Ritual Bell in the Form of a Face - PF.2299
Origin: Southwesterm Nigeria
Circa: 18 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 9.25" (23.5cm) high x 4.25" (10.8cm) wide
Catalogue: V11
Collection: African
Medium: Bronze

Additional Information: Sold

Location: United States
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This powerful ritual face bell belongs to the Ijebu, the first Yoruba-speaking African peoples to be mentioned in European texts. Among the many fascinating things that Portuguese explorer Durate Pacheco Pereira wrote about the Ijebu in the early sixteenth century, of prime interest was the extraordinary metal working in Ijebuland. The Ijebu were master casters, and the major source of bronze castings for the expanding Benin kingdom. Quite possibly, Pereira and his men would have seen, heard and experienced the dynamic ceremonial usage of a bronze ritual face bell such as this spirited example. Prominent chiefs in the region used the face bell as a significant part of their succession ceremony. The reigning chief who is about to pass on his revered title commissions the creation of a ritual face bell. Later, during the succession ritual, the new chief ceremoniously receives the sash-hung bell from the old chief. The new chief positions the sash over his right shoulder so that the bell hangs down at his left hip, all the while the movement of the bell creating an electrifying ring. Dynamic and auditory symbol of power and its transference, this magnificent tribal work of art, with its haunting and spirited visage, at once evokes the primal essence that is a deeply embedded and integral part of each and every one of us. - (PF.2299)


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