Commemorative Plaque for Palace Interior


This plaque from the Benin royal palace complex probably commemorates a particular battle from the sixteenth or seventeenth century, the period of the empire’s greatest expansion. It shows a victorious warrior king or military leader with shield-bearing attendants. The high-ranking military figures are shown in full regalia, with leopard tooth necklaces, weapons, war bells and decorated leather tunics. Although this plaque is described in museum records as having been acquired in exchange from the Field Columbian Museum Chicago, probably only the money for its purchase came from the Field Museum, because the Field Museum has no record of having accessioned this bronze. The director of the Liverpool Museum Henry Ogg Forbes acted as agent for the Field Museum in acquiring Benin bronzes, because he was in contact with dealers who were offering him Benin items in 1899.