FON ART, Republic of Benin

 

 FON
Bocchio
Posts 1

FON
Bocchio
Posts 1

 FON
Bocchio
Posts 1

FON
Fetish
Figures

 FON
Fetish
Figures

FON
Staffs

FON
Staffs

FON
Staffs

FON
Staffs

FON
Rattles

FON
Rattles

FON
Rattles

FON
Rattles

FON
Legba


 

FON
Fetish
Figures

 

FON
Fetish
Figures

FON
Fetish
Figures

 

FON
Fetish
Figures

 

FON
Asen Staffs

 

  FON
Iron Figures

FON
Shields

  FON
Iron Figures

FON
Couples

 
FON
Leopards 1
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Photographs © Tim Hamill

FON ART, Republic of Benin

Staffs made of iron and brass were displayed in royal compounds to affirm kingly power. Usually depicting a king with related motifs, they were called "Asen" and commemorated past rulers. Some are more abstract or depict birds and served another function. The staffs were stuck in the earth, ours have black metal bases (included).

Figure posts like these, Boccio, were placed outdoors and sunk into the earth, becoming wonderfully aged by exposure. Despite their small scale, they seem to gain a spiritual monumentality from being fused with the earth and believed in by man. Standing at the entrance of a village, a courtyard, a house, or a shrine, they served a protective function, barring the entrance of evil spirits.

These were not portraits or specific spirits, rather, the carved figure in human form is a repository or decoy for a spiritual force. In this instance the carved figure is a kind of substitute or stalking horse for the people it is meant to protect. Here, as in much African art, the form of the sculpture is related more to ideas about reality, both visible and invisible, than to the literal representation of nature.

These boccio posts were often crudely worked. Many are carved by self-taught sculptors and lack refinement. Appropriate to their nature, which is nonhuman and nonspecific, and to their exposure to the elements, boccio figures seldom have individual characteristics or individual human embellishments such as coiffures or scarification.

The objects that are not posts are fetishes, believed to have powers to protect the owner and his family from misfortune and evil spirits. They are often used on altars and annointed with sacrifices.

GO TO FON BOCCIO POST PAGE 1

GO TO FON COUPLES PAGE

GO TO FON FETISHES PAGE

GO TO FON SHIELDS PAGE

GO TO FON IRON FIGURES PAGE

GO TO FON ASEN STAFFS PAGE

GO TO METALWORKS PAGE

GO TO METALWORKS EXHIBITION PAGE

GO TO METALWORKS EXHIBITION PAGE 2

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