Commemorative head of a defeated neighboring leader
late 15th–early 16th century
Artist Unidentified, African
Length x width: 21 x 15.2 cm (8 1/4 x 6 in.)
Medium or Technique
Copper alloy, iron
Benin Kingdom Gallery (Gallery 172)
Africa and Oceania
1897, removed from the Benin Royal Palace during the Punitive Expedition by Captain Guy Burrows; May 2, 1898, sold by Norman Burrows, Mellor Hall, Derbyshire, for £18 to Lt.-General Augustus Henry Pitt-Rivers (b. 1827 - d. 1900), Farnham, England; until the 1960s, kept at the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Farnham, and passed by descent within the family [see note]; 1970s, sold upon the dispersal of the collection. 2012, promised gift of Robert Owen Lehman to the MFA.
The collection of the privately-owned Pitt-Rivers museum passed by descent through Augustus Henry Pitt-Rivers’s son Alexander Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers to his grandson, Captain George Pitt-Rivers (1890-1966) and his common law wife, Stella Howson-Clive (Pitt-Rivers). The museum closed in the 1960s and the collection was sold.
Robert Owen Lehman Collection