A superb bronze casting of a pair of leopards from the Benin in Nigeria.
Benin art is royal art made to glorify the great king, or OBA, who is considered to have divine ancestry. Benin castings were all made by the lost wax technique. There is a loss in the cast.
24.5" h by 19"w by 7" l and 22.5" h by 20" w by 6.5"l
The famous royal center of Benin, the center of the Edo people's power and the place of residence for the Oba, the ruler, had produced a number of remarkable objects the best known being the portrait heads cast in bronze and a number of leopard castings such as this. Benin examples of leopards are known as being ritually used as aquamanile to pour water during ceremonies. The age of this figure is difficult to determine however what is important to note is that the skill of the Nigerian bronze (brass) casters of today who cast this leopard continues a tradition nearly 500 years old at Benin and have not lost their skill in producing wonderful works of art.