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Box in the Form of a Leopard's Head (Uzokpo)

Arts of Africa

This box was used to hold kola nuts presented to visitors in the royal court of Benin. Leopards are one of the most commonly portrayed animals in African art. Intelligent and courageous, they often serve as metaphors for powerful individuals or associations.
MEDIUM Wood, upholstery studs
DATES 19th century
DIMENSIONS 6 11/16 × 5 5/16 × 4 1/4 in. (17 × 13.5 × 10.8 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos
PROVENANCE Until 1897, Benin Kingdom; 1897, taken from the Royal Palace during the British military raid and occupation of Benin City by an unidentified British agent; between 1897 and 1901, provenance not yet documented; by 1901, acquired by William Dowling Webster of London, United Kingdom; between 1901 and 1926, provenance not yet documented; before 1926, reportedly acquired by James B. Gaskell of Liverpool, United Kingdom; February 22, 1926, purchased at Glendening & Co., London, lot 229, by Harry Geoffrey Beasley of London and Chislehurst, United Kingdom; until 1939, likely in Cranmore Ethnographic Museum collection, Chislehurst; by 1953, acquired by Millicent A. Rogers of Taos, NM; 1953, inherited from Millicent A. Rogers by Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos; 1956, gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos to the Brooklyn Museum.
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CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Box in form of leopard head, wood with metal tacks over surface, ears protrude, teeth and fangs represented.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Edo. Box in the Form of a Leopard's Head (Uzokpo), 19th century. Wood, upholstery studs, 6 11/16 × 5 5/16 × 4 1/4 in. (17 × 13.5 × 10.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 56.6.31a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 56.6.31a-b_PS11.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 56.6.31a-b_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2021
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