5940

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Exceptional Pair of Igbo Man’s Cast Brass Wrist Guards or Cuff Bracelets

Igbo People, South-central and South-eastern Nigeria
probably 19th century

heights: 17cm, diameters: 10.7cm, combined weights: 1,150g

Available - Enquire

Provenance

UK art market

This impressive pair of cast and chased bracelets or wrist guards was worn by an Igbo man of Nigeria. Cast in brass, they are tubular, tapering and have an almost closed ‘C’ form. They are decorated with panels of ribbing, geometric panels and panels of humanoid figures.

Each of the humanoid figures holds a ceremonial staff known as an aloe, and what is most probably a trumpet made from an elephant tusk over the shoulder.  Wentholt (2017, p. 132) describes those Igbo cuff bracelets decorated with such humanoid or anthropomorhic figures as ‘exceptional cases.’ The figures and their regalia or attributes suggest their high status and thus ‘clearly indicate the rank within society of [such a bracelet’s] wearer.

The pair here are in excellent condition with a superb patina.

The Igbo today are concentrated in  south-central and southeastern Nigeria, and number around 34 million.

 

References

Wentholt, A., Glittering as Gold: The Harry and Miep Schillings Collection of West and Central African Bronze Adornments, C. Zwartenkot Art Books, 2017.

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