- Museum number
Appliqued banner made of textile, depicting King Glele. Around him are warriors, clothed and carrying sabres with iron blades (hwi), engaged in combat with the Yoruba who are shown half-naked and armed with wooden clubs.
- Production date
- Curator's comments
This banner celebrates the achievements of King Glele (1858-98) of Dahomey, in particular his victory over the neighbouring Yoruba people after a protracted campaign. The central figure depicts Glele in the guise of a number of the gods (vodun) in the Fon pantheon.. Around him are warriors, clothed and carrying sabres with iron blades (hwi), engaged in combat with the Yoruba who are shown half-naked and armed with wooden clubs: the confrontation is clearly between 'civilization' and its opposite.
Mawu-Lisa, the creator god, is both moon and sun, woman and man; likewise the god Daghesu may appear as a ram-headed, heavily armed male or a one-legged female with a cockerel's comb on her head to symbolize sunrise, and images of the moon and sun in her hands. Hevioso, the thunder and water pantheon, is represented in material form by the royal axe, recade, which has a blade issuing from its mouth. All these attributes and characteristics are incorporated in the central figure. Life-size wooden versions of this figure are known to have been made and carried into battle at the head of the Dahomean army, or to have stood close to the king in his palace at Abomey. The banner may have fulfilled a similar role.
Picton & Mack 1989:
'Cotton applique banner.'
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number