This object you are seeing here is an Igbo shrine bell. It is decorated with 16 protruding pustules and 4 serpents.
It was not imported but was made by “the bronze casters of Awka.”
Apart from Awka, there were bronze/ iron workshops in Nkwerre, Abiriba, Okigwe and so on which were producing various regalia and objects for religious and worldly usages.
All these workshops could be “traced back to the culture of the Igbo-Ukwu (10th century).”
Tho iron/ bronze casters also produced iron weapons.
This Igbo Shrine Bell is one of the objects that were carted away from Igboland and sent to Europe.
Not only were these and other objects found in Igbo shrines taken away, the iron/ bronze casters and their workshops were attacked.
Many of the casters were arrested and many never returned.
The attack on the iron/ bronze casters was not because they produced objects that promoted “idolatry” but because they were also manufacturing guns and other weapons of war.
After the attack on the iron/ bronze casters and their workshops, the colonial masters decreed that everyone should submit every gun in his possession.
To ensure compliance, they went from house to house in search of guns. It is was after that search that the military onslaught that eventually led to the capitulation of Igboland was launched by the British colonialists.
Source: Fr Angelo Chidi Unegbu