Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Owo (Nigeria)
    Ram's Head Pendant Mask
    Cast Brass or Bronze, ca. 18th century
    Height: 5 7/8 inches Width: 3 ¾ inches Depth: 1 ½ inches

    This cast metal pendant mask represents an ancient royal and chiefly accoutrement deriving from the court of the Oba of Benin, though this example comes from Owo, a major casting center located between Benin and Ife. It represents a ram's head, which was a principal symbol of the chiefs of the royal lineage at Owo. They "embody the idea of the ancestors as mediators for the transmission of the fertilizing life force from the gods..."(William Fagg. Nigerian Images. New York, London: Frederick A. Praeger, 1963, no. 102). The linear details which edge or highlight such areas as the nose bridge, mouth, and lower flange were cast from raised, braided strands of wax laid on the larger surface. There are two triangular openings at the center of the lower flange. The back suspension loop is at the bottom, thus dictating that the ram faces the wearer.
    There are casting fault losses at the center face, and toward the center base of the proper left horn, which has a considerable further metal loss on its inner side.
    This piece is sold with a copy of a statement of authenticity from William Fagg,C.M.G., 1985.

    Provenance: Peter Wengraf, London
    Thomas D. Slater, Indianapolis
    Dr. Hamus and Kirsten Grosz, Indianapolis

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2007
    7th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,521

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold on Jun 7, 2007 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 November 16 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    I look forward to several future consignments with Heritage and with your continued guidance and expertise.
    William Levin, M.D.,
    Beverly Hills, CA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search