Fish Figurine - Dahomey, Benin

This small piscine figure once served as a finial ornament to a larger work. Close examination reveals a fine range of textural details and patterns that vividly describe the surface. A subtle sinuosity runs through the body, suggesting an almost lifelike sense of motion in this lovely miniature. 

Dahomey culture had a strong tradition of casting small anthropomorphic and zoomorphic brass figures, which were worn as jewelry or displayed in the homes of those who could afford such luxury items. These figures were somewhat unusual in the scope of African art in having no religious function or connotation, being made purely for decorative purposes and to reflect a degree of wealth.

19th century
H 1" W 3.25"
Ex Charles Miller, New York
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