Altar Tusk

Altar Tusk

c. 1820

Elephant 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.


Carved Tusk
See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 

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