The crossbowman is in a dynamic and European-inspired pose and probably represents a Portuguese soldier.
Portuguese crossbowman by Benin, c. 1550
© British Museum
- Cast bronze
- 35 cm
- Acquired in:
- Mrs W O Oldman
His knees are bent; he aims his weapon, wearing a sword at the left and a dagger at the right. Below this is a goat's foot lever for drawing the crossbow. This object was produced in the kingdom of Benin, part of Nigeria. It was a part of a large and varied collection of 30 works of ethnographic art, formed by W. O. Oldman, which the Art Fund presented to the nation on account of its 'exceptional merit'.
Admiral Rawson, Commander of the Benin Expedition, 1897; Mr W O Oldman.