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Commemorative head of a defeated neighboring leader

Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria
late 15th–early 16th century
Artist Unidentified


Length x width: 21 x 15.2 cm (8 1/4 x 6 in.)

Accession Number

L-G 7.10.2012

Medium or Technique

Copper alloy, iron

On View

Benin Kingdom Gallery (Gallery 172)


Africa and Oceania




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.

Credit Line

Robert Owen Lehman Collection