The Oba of Benin's Palace, 16th Century


This file appears in: Oba's Palace, Benin City, Nigeria
The Oba of Benin's Palace, 16th Century
©Trustees of the British Museum, Af1898,0115.46 Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

This 16th-century brass plaque, one of over 800 that once adorned the pillars of a large reception area, depicts courtiers standing within a tower-topped courtyard. References to architecture on the plaques are very rare; the pair to this plaque (in Berlin's Ethnological Museum) is the only other. Like all Benin art, this work is human-centered; thus the scale represented is intentionally inaccurate. It shows a shingled roof with a turret, the latter topped with a snake that is positioned head-downwards. Although the top of the plaque has suffered breakage, it indicates (as does its pair) a bird's feet, and demonstrates the turrets did not come to a point.


This file appears in: Oba's Palace, Benin City, Nigeria