African Art News

A Benin” Lovebird Masterpiece for Valentine’s Day ?

Also called ” bird of prophecy”-staff

  • Africa | Brass Staff with bird figure. Edo people, Benin Kingdom.

published in “African Sculpture” by Ladislas Segy 1958, figure 62.
Bird size: 10 cm Staff size: 28 cm Age: ca. Mid 18th century.


The bird perched with outstretched wings on the finials of this idiophone sounded on the occasions of Ugie Oro court festivals is usually called the “bird of prophecy” (ahianmwen-oro) https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/316559

Bird staffs serve as hand-held clappers during court rituals.
They are played by striking the bird’s beak with a metal rod.
These staffs symbolize the power of the king over natural and supernatural forces, and recall a famous military victory of a Benin King.

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Ancestor statue - Wood - Colon - Yoruba - Congo

Ancestor statue – Wood – Colon – Yoruba – Congo

Spoon - Wood - Wakemia - Dan - Liberia

Spoon – Wood – Wakemia – Dan – Liberia

Mask - Aluminium, Wood - Ntomo - Bamana  - Mali

Mask – Aluminium, Wood – Ntomo – Bamana – Mali

Mask - Wood - Deangle - Dan - Liberia

Mask – Wood – Deangle – Dan – Liberia

Mask - Raphia, Wood - Lukwakongo - Lega - Congo

Mask – Raphia, Wood – Lukwakongo – Lega – Congo

Fetish - Wood - Yiteke, Provenance Gordon B. Lankton  - Yaka - Congo DRC

Fetish – Wood – Yiteke, Provenance Gordon B. Lankton – Yaka – Congo DRC

Ancestor statue - Wood - Bavong Tchitchiri - Moba - Togo

Ancestor statue – Wood – Bavong Tchitchiri – Moba – Togo

Head (substitute) - Wood - Aklama - Ewe - Togo

Head (substitute) – Wood – Aklama – Ewe – Togo

Shield - Wood - Kifwebe - Songye - Congo DRC

Shield – Wood – Kifwebe – Songye – Congo DRC

Sculpture - Wood - Aklama - Ewe - Togo

Sculpture – Wood – Aklama – Ewe – Togo

Ancestor statue - Wood - Yiteke - Yaka - Congo DRC

Ancestor statue – Wood – Yiteke – Yaka – Congo DRC

Ancestor statue - Wood - Biolo Bian-NO RESERVE - Baule - Ivory Coast

Ancestor statue – Wood – Biolo Bian-NO RESERVE – Baule – Ivory Coast

Sculpture - Wood - Fante - Asante  - Ghana

Sculpture – Wood – Fante – Asante – Ghana

Sculpture - Wood - boccio - Fon  - Togo

Sculpture – Wood – boccio – Fon – Togo

Mask - Wood - Lukwakongo - Lega - Congo

Mask – Wood – Lukwakongo – Lega – Congo

Sculpture - Terracota, Wood - boccio - Fon  - Benin

Sculpture – Terracota, Wood – boccio – Fon – Benin

Doll - Wood - Akuaba - Asante - Ghana

Doll – Wood – Akuaba – Asante – Ghana

Sculpture - Wood - boccio - Fon  - Benin

Sculpture – Wood – boccio – Fon – Benin

Sculpture - mother and child, Wood - boccio - Fon  - Benin

Sculpture – mother and child, Wood – boccio – Fon – Benin

Sculpture - Wood - boccio - Fon Hollande - Benin

Sculpture – Wood – boccio – Fon Hollande – Benin

Mask - Wood - Lukwakongo - Lega - Congo DRC

Mask – Wood – Lukwakongo – Lega – Congo DRC

Mask - Wood - Lwena - Chokwe - Angola

Mask – Wood – Lwena – Chokwe – Angola

Musical instrument - Metal, Wood - Sanza lamellophone, NO RESERVE - Bakongo - Congo DRC

Musical instrument – Metal, Wood – Sanza lamellophone, NO RESERVE – Bakongo – Congo DRC

Ancestor statue - Wood - Aklama - Ewe - Togo

Ancestor statue – Wood – Aklama – Ewe – Togo

Doll - Wood - Akuaba - Asante - Ghana

Doll – Wood – Akuaba – Asante – Ghana

Headdress - Wood - Bandiagara - Tellem - Mali

Headdress – Wood – Bandiagara – Tellem – Mali

Fly whisk - Wood - Nsesa, Provenance Patric Claes - Bacongo - Congo DRC

Fly whisk – Wood – Nsesa, Provenance Patric Claes – Bacongo – Congo DRC

bird  - Wood - Mijoa - Madagascar - Madagascar

bird – Wood – Mijoa – Madagascar – Madagascar

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