Chief with a Thermos bottle – (2329)

Amusing small Fon bronze depicting a Chief, also called a King in West Africa, sitting on a thin strip of metal formed as a stool. He holds a bag in one hand and a Thermos bottle in the other. He is wearing a smock, a plaid which is slung around the body. A cap covers his head. The stool has attachment holes in its legs and once formed part of an iron ‘Asen’ altar which has disintegrated long ago. These altars served as monuments to the dead for the Fon people. Placed in family shrines, such altars became the focus of interaction with the ancestors. Very often human altar figures were flanked by animals or cherished objects. This figure dates from the beginning of the 20th century based on the fact that the Thermos bottle was only invented in 1892 by Sir James Dewar. Ouidah Fon culture. Benin. West Africa. Height 9 cm. Width 7 cm. Depth 6 cm.
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