Ceremonial Armlet


The Obas of Benin wore ivory armlets and bracelets during palace ceremonies. This armlet is decorated with emblems of royal authority including leopards preying on other animals and a Portuguese man in sixteenth century dress holding a ‘u’-shaped brass currency piece called a manilla. This armlet was purchased in April 1898 from Henry Ling Roth, curator of the Bankfield Museum in Halifax, who probably acquired it from his brother Dr Felix Roth. Dr Roth was surgeon to the Advance Guard with the British forces that attacked and looted Benin in February 1897.