Benin brass plaque, 16th-17th century. Produced by the Edo people for the exterior of the royal palace in Benin City, the plaques depict people by rank. The largest figure (the warrior chief at centre) has the greatest authority and rank. He is shown with leopard-spot scarification marks and a leopard-tooth necklace, as well as a coral-studded helmet and collar, a lavish wrap, and a brass ornament on his hip. In his left hand he carries a ceremonial sword, with a spear in his other hand. The other figures are lesser soldiers and servants. This 48-centimetre-high plaque is part of the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, USA.
February 17th, 2021
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