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HOME : Decorative Arts : African Sculptures : Benin Ivory Hip Ornament
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Benin Ivory Hip Ornament - PF.5577
Origin: West Africa
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 6.875" (17.5cm) high x 4" (10.2cm) wide
Collection: Decorative Arts
Medium: Ivory

Location: United States
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During important ceremonies, chiefs and titleholders would wear this type of ornament on their left hip, covering the closure of their wrapped skirts. The depiction of the Oba’s is adapted to the ovular shape of the ornament. The face of the king is typical of the Benin royal style. The large, composed eyes are represented here with holes for the pupils. The wide flat nose and lips are also typical of such images. The Oba wears a headband of coral beads across his forehead. A crown of mudfish stretches around his head from ear to ear. This fish was associated with the king for its ability to move across both land and water much like the Oba could move across both spiritual and earthly realms. This stunning carving was reserved for the highest- ranking authority to wear during specific ceremonies, perhaps it was even the Oba’s own. Surely this hip ornament is fit for a king. - (PF.5577)


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