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Benin Ivory

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    Af1910,0513.1

  • Title (series)

    • Benin Ivory
  • Description

    Carved ivory mask-shaped hip-pendant, inlaid with iron and bronze.

  • Ethnic name

  • Date

    • 16thC
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 24.5 centimetres
    • Width: 12.5 centimetres
    • Depth: 6 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    This type of mask was worn by the Oba, on the hip, during important ceremonies. The mask is said to represent Idia, mother of Oba Esigie who ruled in the sixteenth century. The top of the hip mask is decorated with heads representing the Portuguese, symbolizing Benin's alliance with and control over Europeans. The Portuguese continued to appear in Benin art long after they had disappeared from Benin itself.

    P. Girshick Ben-Amos, The art of Benin (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

    More 

  • Location

    On display: G25/dc5

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:
    1970-1973, London, Museum of Mankind, Divine Kingship in Africa
    1993-1997, London, Museum of Mankind, Great Benin: a West African Kingdom

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1910

  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number

    Af1910,0513.1

Carved ivory mask-shaped pendant, inlaid with iron and bronze.

Carved ivory mask-shaped pendant, inlaid with iron and bronze.

Image description

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Object reference number: EAF15200

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