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Waist Pendant with Oba and Two Attendants

Arts of Africa

The central figure on this pendant represents the oba, or king, of Benin flanked by important court officials. The scene symbolizes support for the oba, who in turn sustains the nation. The pendant was worn by the oba on a belt around his waist at state events.
MEDIUM Copper alloy
DATES mid–16th to early 17th century
DIMENSIONS 8 x 6 1/4 x 2 1/4 in (20.3 x 15.9 x 5.7 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS "25601" painted in white on back
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Gift of Beatrice Riese
PROVENANCE Until at least 1897, Benin Kingdom; 1897, probably taken from the Royal Palace during the British military raid and occupation of Benin City by an unidentified British agent, possibly by Admiral Sir George Le Clerc Egerton of London, United Kingdom; before 1940, acquired by Admiral Sir George Le Clerc Egerton; between 1940 and 1954, provenance not yet documented; by 1954, acquired by Margaret F. Plass of London; between 1954 and 1960, provenance not yet documented; by 1960, acquired by Julius Carlebach of New York, NY; 1960, acquired from Julius Carlebach by Beatrice Riese of New York, NY; 1998, gift of Beatrice Riese to the Brooklyn Museum.
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CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Semicircular cast ornament depicting three figures in high relief, possibly lost-wax cast. The figures are dressed in skirted textured costumes with beaded high collars. Each wears a domed headdress with shoulder-length side flaps and a crown topped with dowel-like extension. Legs are adorned with multiple cast coral bead anklets. The edge of the ornament is finished with a row of small pierced circles. Back of plaque has the a cast-in image of a knife, possibly a maker's mark.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Edo. Waist Pendant with Oba and Two Attendants, mid–16th to early 17th century. Copper alloy, 8 x 6 1/4 x 2 1/4 in (20.3 x 15.9 x 5.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Beatrice Riese, 1998.38. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1998.38_front_PS2.jpg)
IMAGE front, 1998.38_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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