Animal sacrifices, Benin, 19th century

Animal sacrifices, Benin, 19th century

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Credit: BILDAGENTUR-ONLINE/TH FOTO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Animal sacrifices, Benin. 19th-century artwork of indigenous people sacrificing animals in front of a war fetish (here, a crowned wooden human figure) in Dahomey in Africa. The Kingdom of Dahomey, which was in what is now Benin, was founded in the 17th century. It later became part of French West Africa from 1894. The culture of Dahomey was based on a cult of frequent and extensive sacrifices, involving fetishes (talismans with supernatural powers) and ritual slaughter of both animals and humans. Remnants of this practice include voodoo, derived from the Vodou religion of Dahomey. This woodcut dates from around 1871.

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