Altar Figure


As with, little is known about this type of figure, although it might represent the cross-wearing official of the Ewua craft guild who ritually greets the dawn on behalf of the Oba. The dawn ceremony was introduced in the 16th century and celebrates the divine origin and spiritual legacy of the Oba’s long dynasty. This figure seems to have belonged to a larger group from which it was cut or broken off. Although it is described in museum records as having been acquired in exchange from the Field Columbian Museum Chicago, probably only the funds for its purchase came from the Field Museum, because the Field Museum has no record of having accessioned it. The director of the Liverpool Museum Henry Ogg Forbes was in contact with dealers who were offering him Benin items in 1899 and he acted as an agent in acquiring Benin bronzes for the Field Museum.