Benin Style Bronze Head of a Mother Queen

SKU PF.5362

20th Century AD


21.25″ (54.0cm) high x 5″ (12.7cm) wide




South Central Nigeria

Gallery Location



Bronze commemorative heads placed on altars are dedicated to past Iyobas (queen mothers). The most distinctive feature of this head is the marvelous high, forward-pointing headdress, which is a version of the elaborate coiffure known as “chicken-beak” worn by high-ranking Edo women. Her face is expressive of calmness and sensitivity befitting a person of royal rank, with wide-open eyes, full lips, a broad nose and scarification on the forehead. She wears a tight- fitting bead collar reaching to the back of the neck and below the chin. All these attributes denote high rank of the first woman among the Oba’s many wives to give him a son. She is granted the title of Iyobas seven years after her son is crowned, thus ensuring her immortality among her people.

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