Commemorative Altar Sculpture
This remarkable cast bronze sculpture shows an Oba, or high-ranking military officer, wearing an elaborate ceremonial costume while mounted on a horse. The mounted figure wears a shield and carries a spear in his right hand. The sculpture may have been made in the late sixteenth century, possibly to commemorate Oba Ehengbuda. John Henry Swainson, a trader with the Liverpool firm Pinnock and Co., acquired this figure in 1892, probably as a diplomatic gift from Oba Ovonramwen. Swainson assisted Vice-Consul Gallwey to secure the Oba's proxy signature on a political 'treaty' between Britain and the Edo Kingdom during their visit to Benin City in March 1892.