Benin Ivory Trumpet - PF.2876 Origin: South-Central Nigeria Circa: 18
Century AD Dimensions:19.5" (49.5cm) high x 2" (5.1cm) wide Catalogue: V19 Collection: African Medium: Ivory
To the Benin, ivory was more valuable than gold
and represented great kings and warriors. When
used, the sounds produced by this trumpet
represented the voices of the king's enemies
praising him. The playing of this trumpet was
also said to empower the king with the strength
of the elephant it came from. On this specific
trumpet we see the mother of the king seated in
a place of high honor, on the very top. Below her
are depictions of her servants and protectors.
She herself is elegantly modeled wearing
multiple strands of beads showing her high rank.
Also pictured on this stunning piece is the sacred
snake. It was believed by the Benin people that it
was the snake that connected heaven and earth.