Guinea Coast, Nigeria, Benin Kingdom, Edo, 19th century
ivory, Overall: 197.4 cm (77 11/16 in.). Gift of Katherine C. White 1968.284
Consisting of a clay platform built against a wall, the altars in the palace of the oba, the divine Benin king, are furnished with different ceremonial objects, including elephant tusks that the new oba commissions from the ivory carvers' guild within three years of his installation. Carved in parallel horizontal rows, the motifs covering the surface of the tusks recall historical and mythological traditions.
CMA 1968: "African Tribal Images: The Katherine White Reswick Collection," cat. no. 144, repr.
CMA 1969: "Year in Review 1968," CMA Bulletin LVI (Jan., 1969), p. 46, no. 56, repr. p. 43.
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