You are here:
possibly mid 1500s or early 1600s
Overall: 29.9 x 21.6 x 20.4 cm (11 3/4 x 8 1/2 x 8 1/16 in.)
Dudley P. Allen Fund 1938.6
This brass head represents a Benin ruler wearing accouterments that speak to his divine power, such as the elaborate headdress and the beaded collar around his neck. Also notice the scarification, or intentional skin marking, above his eyes. The practice of scarification is common among some African peoples as it denotes the ethnicity or clan ties of the individual who bears them.
Metal arts flourished in the Benin kingdom from the 15th to the 19th century, until the British military sacked the Benin capital in 1897. This brass head depicts the divine Benin ruler cloaked in a headdress and collar of red coral beads. Such heads were ordered by a new king (oba) as centerpieces for the ancestral altar--an earthen platform--in honor of his deceased predecessor.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email email@example.com.
Is something not working on this page? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.