Friedrich Erdmann (1866-presumably 1907) was a merchant from Hamburg and worked as a managing director for the trading company Bey & Zimmer in Lagos, Warri and Sapele in southern Nigeria. Erdmann is known to have visited Benin City after it was conquered by British troops, taking the artefacts that remained there to sell with the permission of the British military, as well as photographing the area. Erdmann was one of the key figures in Bey’s Benin business, selling a total of 13 objects from the Kingdom of Benin to the museum in 1898. His widow, Alma, corresponded with Felix von Luschan (1854–1924) in Berlin, and later sold objects from her husband’s collection. His son Kurt (1901–1964) was an art historian; he also sold pieces from his father’s estate.
Reliefplatte mit zwei Leopardenjägern
Unbekannte Werkstatt der Bronzegießergilde Igun Eronmwon / Königreich Benin, Nigeria, 16./17. Jh. / Gelbguss / Ankauf von Friedrich Erdmann, 1898, Inv. Nr. C 2301
Leopardenjäger waren in einer königlichen Gilde organisiert. In den Händen halten sie Bogen und Pfeilbündel, an den linken Handgelenken ist ein beutelartiger Sehnenschutz erkennbar. Ihre Aufgabe war es, lebende Leoparden zu fangen, die entweder gezähmt am Hof gehalten oder bei den alljährlichen Festen vom König geopfert wurden.
Label Text (eng)
Relief Plaque with two Leopard Hunters
Unidentified workshop of the Bronze Casters Guild Igun Eronmwon / Benin Kingdom, Nigeria, 16th/17th century / Brass / Acquired from Friedrich Erdmann, 1898, Inv. no. C 2301
Leopard hunters were organized in a royal guild. They are holding bows and bundles of arrows in their hands, and on their left wrists a pouch-like string protection is visible. Their duty was to capture leopards alive which were either tamed and kept at the court or sacrificed by the king at the annual festivals.