Overall: 47.6 cm (18 3/4 in.)

Gift of Katherine C. White 1973.221


Materials used for ritual objects correspond with the status of their owner, or the person it was dedicated to. Men have cast brass roosters, while women have carved wooden hens like this. This egg-shaped bird is covered with patterns formed by parallel lines indicating the bird’s feathers, from fluffy tufts to sleek plumage. Realistically carved, it replicates an animal that would be sacrificed on a woman’s shrine. On an ancestral altar, it sat alongside other objects like rattle staffs. While Benin is patriarchal (men and their male sons lead), women are important; men cannot succeed spiritually or politically without them.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 

Contact us

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 collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Is something not working on this page? Please email help.website@clevelandart.org.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.