- Museum number
Series: Afro-Portuguese Ivories
Series: Bini-Portuguese Ivories
Spoon; made of elephant ivory. Spatulate bowl with central rib at back and tripartite hook at front. Stem has quadruped (? paqngolin) carved at base and cockerel at top.
- Production date
- 1525-1600 (circa)
Height: 25.70 centimetres
Width: 5.20 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Spoon displays a cockerel, the symbol of the Queen Mother in the Benin Kingdom, and a pangolin(?), associated with Edo chiefs (due to the use of pangolin skin in ceremonial robes and helmets). On the top of the handle, the cockerel is clearly recognisable by its wattles and combs. The pangolin, at the base of the spoon’s handle, is identified by its scaled skin, protruding snout, and long curled tail. The arched body references the pangolin’s ability to roll into a ball, an important feature that allowed it to resist the attack of the leopard, an animal which represented the king. The use of pangolin skin helmets by royal leopard hunters can be seen in the Benin plaques (Af1898,0115.80) and further emphasise the pangolin’s ability to protect itself from the leopard.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1993-1997, London, Museum of Mankind, Great Benin: a West African Kingdom
- Good. Mammal's snout and tail slightly damaged.
- Acquisition date
- 28 Oct 1872
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Other BM number: Af1973,Q.104 (previously registered as)