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TL. Musician TR. Fabric embroidered with raffia. B. Ivory oliphants.

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TL. Musician TR. Fabric embroidered with raffia. B. Ivory oliphants.
16th-18th c African (West) Benin Kingdom Sculpture

KUBA Anonymous (Before 16th c - present) Primary
KUBA Anonymous (Before 16th c - present)
KUBA Anonymous (Before 16th c - present)
c. 1550 - 1799
16th-18th c
TL Copper alloy TR Raffia B. Ivory
Benin Kingdom
statuette
TL Benin Kingdom. Nigeria TR&B Democratic Republic of the Congo.
TL&R New York. Metropolitan Museum of Art. B. Florence. Pitti.
African51.afr02c64
Pope Leo X, the grandson of Lorenzo de Medici, continued his grandfather's great interest in both scholarship and art. It was Leo who was fascinated by the young Moorish traveler, who converted him and gave him his name as well as commissioning him to write of his travels into the interior of Africa. It was also Leo who appointed Henry Manicongo as the first bishop of Black Africa. Although Leo died in 1521, the connection between Africa and the Medici continued, for the two ivory oliphants shown in the lower portion of this image was listed in the inventory of his grand-nephew, Cosimo I in Florence in 1553, and possibly was a gift celebrating his wedding to Eleonora of Toledo in 1539. The African image on the upper left demonstrates a musician from the Benin court playing such an instrument, blowing from the side rather than the end as was common with earlier oliphants. The holes on the two ivory oliphants are cut on the side. The raffia fabric from the Kongo shown on the right is decorated with the same geometric patterns as the elegant ivory horns. Great numbers of cloths like these, embroidered with geometric patterns in low relief, were exported into Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Caption: BENIN, KUBA, KONGO | TL. Musician TR. Fabric embroidered with raffia. B. Ivory oliphants | c. 1550 - 1799 | West African | Benin, kuba, Kongo

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