Benin Bone or Ivory Hip Ornament - PF.2878 Origin: Southcentral Nigeria Circa: 20
Century AD Dimensions:8" (20.3cm) high x 4.375" (11.1cm) wide Collection: African Style: Benin Medium: Bone or Ivory
To the Benin people ivory was worth more than
gold. Since the elephant was the most powerful
warrior of the wild, it was believed that the
warrior kings and elephants shared the same
conceptual space. From this belief, ivory came to
represent the great warriors of the Benin culture.
This small mask would have been a part of an
"orufanaran" ensemble. Small mask like pieces
such as these would have been tied onto the
ceremonial costume of warriors. They would
have stood for the warrior's "rank" as well as
displaying his valor and courage in battle.