Brass roosters are placed on ancestral altars commemorating the queen mothers of Benin. They stand for fowl and other animals that are sacrificed during rituals honoring royal ancestors. These explicitly male creatures acknowledge that the queen mother is different from other women and shares many powers and privileges with men. In depicting these birds, Benin brass casters indulge their love of dense overall patterns. Although stylized, these incised designs deftly suggest the rooster's showy plumage, scaly legs, and dimpled comb.
[Charles Ratton, Paris, acquired by 1930]; Louis Carré, Paris, acquired by 1932; [Michael Knoedler & Co., New York, Paris, London, acquired by ca. 1936]; Edward S. and Mary Stillman Harkness, New York, 1936–1940; Mary Stillman Harkness, New York and Connecticut, 1940–(d.) 1950
von Luschan, Felix. Die Altertümer von Benin. Berlin, Leipiz: Vereinigung wissenschaftlicher Verleger, 1919.
Segy, Ladislas. African Sculpture Speaks. New York: L. Hill, 1955, fig. 94.