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H : 30 cm.
Wood and silver
Musée Dapper - Paris

This royal statue must be linked to King Glele who ruled over the Kingdom of Dahomey with skill and enlightenment from 1858 to 1889. Emblem of kingly strength, the lion figures high on the list of totems assigned to the young crown prince when he was designated by the oracle of Fa and attributed the name of "king of kings" (kini kini kini). The animal expresses its anger through its open jaw and bared teeth, its glaring eyes and cocked ears and tail. Several outside influences (notably Arab) are associated with the traditional ancient statuary of Benin to create a convincing "power object".

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