- Museum number
- Series: Benin Ivory
Altar tusk; made of elephant ivory carved with human and animal figures in relief. Interlace design around base. Along outer curve are seven figures wearing coral caps and necklaces; Oba figure near base has mudfish legs and holds a jointed staff. Several figures on the two sides of the tusk hold knives, staves, and bat-like implements. Near the base are three figures of Europeans, two in profile, one of them holding up a leopard by the leg. Leopards and snakes are interspersed among the figures. In the middle of the inner curve is a cat-fish and the elephant's head with trunk terminating in a human hand. The tip is carved to represent a human head with coral necklace.
- Production date
- 18thC-19thC (?)
Height: 137 centimetres (inner curve: tip to base (approx))
Height: 1.80 metres (outer curve: tip to base (approx))
Width: 15 centimetres (base (approx))
Depth: 10.60 centimetres (base (approx))
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1970-1973, London, Museum of Mankind, Divine Kingship in Africa
1997-1998 Sep-Jan, Osaka, National Museum of Ethnology, Images of Other Cultures
1998, Feb-Apr, Tokyo, Setagaya Art Museum, Images of Other Cultures
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- During the British Expedition to Benin City (Edo) in 1897 objects made of brass, ivory, coral and wood were looted by British soldiers from the royal palace, its storerooms and compounds.
Some of these objects were sold or exchanged on the coast. However, many were brought to the UK where they were sold through private auction, donated to museums, or retained by soldiers of the expedition.
See Collection File: Af1897,1224.1-4.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number