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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Benin : Benin Bone or Ivory Hip Ornament
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Benin Bone or Ivory Hip Ornament - PF.2878
Origin: Southcentral Nigeria
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 8" (20.3cm) high x 4.375" (11.1cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Benin
Medium: Bone or Ivory

Location: United States
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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. - (PF.2878)


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