Sign on
tusk
Date Made/Found: 1880-1897
Material and Medium: elephant's tusk
Dimensions: Overall: 1440 x 1060 x 150mm (56 11/16 x 41 3/4 x 5 7/8in.)
Place Object Found: Benin City
Accession Number: J1943.2
Elephant ivory tusk carved in relief over the whole surface. At the base is a band of plaited design. Along the outer curve of the tusk, it is decorated with different figures and each figure would have a number of meanings in the Benin society. For examples: Fish-legged figure - status and power also represent sea god Olokun as well as some of Benin's past kings. Leopard - powerful animals representing strength of king Mudfish - stands for peace, power and fertility Man on horseback - king from past. Represents riches of Benin Man - European trader represents wealth that foreign trade brought to Benin This ivory tusk was treasured as part of an ancestral altar reflecting the power of the owner's family. It was made for a war commander called Ezomo Osarogiagbon and made to honour his dead father. The carved symbols show his family's link to king in Benin society. It was taken by the British army when they invaded Benin in 1897.
Display Location: In Store
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