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Commemorative head of a defeated neighboring leader
Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria
late 15th–early 16th century
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)
16th century, commissioned from the Igun Eronmwon, or royal brasscasters guild, by the Oba of Benin; by descent to Oba Ovonramwen (Ovonramwen Nogbaisi, b. about 1857 - d. about 1914; r. 1888 - 1897), Royal Palace, Benin City; 1897, taken from the Royal Palace during the British military occupation of Benin by Norman Burrows, Mellor Hall, Derbyshire; May 2, 1898, sold by Norman Burrows 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. By 2011, Robert Owen Lehman, Rochester, NY; 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