Collection online

Benin Ivory

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • 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)


  • Location

    On display: G25/dc5

  • Exhibition history

    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


  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


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

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

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: EAF15200

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help