Skip to Main Content

Plaque

1500s–1600s
Overall: 45.7 x 38.1 cm (18 x 15 in.)
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

Did You Know?

Look at the side of this plaque. The designs on the slender edges are considered visual "signatures" of the different casters who made plaques for the Oba of Benin.

Description

Nearly 900 metal plaques once adorned the Ọba’s palace courtyard, documenting Benin’s history and customs. This one depicts two male attendants (enobore) supporting an Ọba. It uses hierarchical composition: important figures are large and centered. Everything about the Ọba is greater than his companions: their bodies, clothing, and jewelry. The flanking attendants physically support a man weighed down by heavy royal garments and responsibilities. Brasscasters skillfully cast their clasping hands projecting from the plaque. The bottom left number means the British Museum formerly owned this. It entered their collection in 1898, one year after British troops took it from a palace storeroom during the Siege of Benin.
Plaque

Plaque

1500s–1600s

Nigeria, Benin Kingdom, Ẹdo peoples, members of the Igun Eronmwon (royal brasscasters) guild

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. 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.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.