Bell; Ero



To make contact with the spirits of his ancestors, the Oba rings brass bells before making offerings at royal altars. Edo soldiers also wore bells during campaigns to invoke protection from the spirit world. This bell bears a relief image of the face of a long-haired Portuguese man on one side, suggesting the influence of early Portuguese contacts with the Edo Kingdom. This bell was purchased for the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum in 1929 from Mr Hiram Stead, who seems to have been a dealer in various antiquities and 'ethnographical' items. It was presented to the World Museum via the British in 1949 by the trustees of the Wellcome Collection.