L. Altar. Oba with Warriors R. Leopard from Royal Throne.
16th-18th c African (West) Benin Kingdom Sculpture
EDO PEOPLE Anonymous
(pre-1500 - present)
Benin Kingdom. Nigeria. Africa.
New York. Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The small altar on the left shows the enthroned Oba surrounded by guards carrying all sorts of arms, many of which are guns. On the right is a large leopard made of five different ivory tusks. The great cat was one of two who flanked the throne of the Oba and served as additional symbols of his power. Although most such altars were for the use of the Oba only , this may have been the one that oral tradition says was made for the Ezomo, who was the Oba Akenzua I's commanding general. The large size of the armed figure seen below would support this supposition, for the altar certainly seems to refer to war. We know that the Bini depended upon sacred "medicine" to achieve victories.
BENIN | L. Altar. Oba with Warriors R. Leopard from Royal Throne. | c. 1500-1799 | West African | Benin
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