Exhibitions/ Art Object


1550–1680 (?)
Nigeria, Court of Benin
Edo peoples
Ivory, copper (?)
H. 5 1/8 x Diam. 3 9/16 in. (13 x 9 cm)
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1964
Accession Number:
Not on view
At palace festivals, the king and chiefs of Benin wear pairs of long, cylindrical bracelets made of ivory or brass decorated with images that symbolize royal power. On this example, images of mudfish and Portuguese heads--both referring to the king's divine nature and his association with Olokun--alternate checkerboard style around the bracelet. Bracelets were among the few ivory objects available to chiefs and not strictly monopolized by the king.
Admiral Sir George le Clerc Egerton, London, collected during the Benin Expedition, 1897; Admiral B. Egerton, until 1959; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1959–1964; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1964–1978

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, no. 378.

Newton, Douglas. Masterpieces of Primitive Art: The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978, pp. 98–99.

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