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Edo, Benin, West African cast brass sculpture of a cockerel

Old reddish brown patina, from the 18-19th century., it measures 3 3/4" high, 5 1/4" deep and 3 1/4" wide.

A similar example is illustrated in "Works of Art from Benin" the Pitt Rivers Museum, Farnham, Dorset 1900, no. 301.

Brass was a material with Royal connotations in Benin and its use was strictly controlled, with guild craftsmen working under the patronage of the court. Brass has a complex meaning. As a material it never corrodes or rusts and thus it stands for permanence and the continuity of Kingship.

Brass is thought to be red in color and this is considered by the Edo as "threatening," that is to have the power to drive away evil forces. Its shiny surface is considered beautiful and in the past, Royal brasses were constantly polished to a high sheen.$

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