Leopard Skull Pendant


Leopards and leopard skulls were primary emblems of royal authority and a leopard skull costume ornament like this one would only have been worn by high-ranking officials. Benin brass-casters seem rarely to have made these objects. Although this ornament 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.