Ornamental Tray



This wooden tray is carved with a tableau showing Oba Ozolua the conqueror (c.1480-1517), with his long iron chain mail coat and war helmet with its hanging panels. His wounded arm is partly covered with a miniature shield associated with his magical invincibility. Ozolua’s story has a cautionary element among the Edo because Ozolua was killed by his treacherous warrior companion Elaisolobi, who turned against him because his soldiers were thoroughly tired of war. The story relates that Elaisolobi revealed the Oba’s vulnerability to the people of Uzea when Ozolua removed his chain mail coat to bathe. See also 1992.210.86. This tray was purchased from Jack Leggett, 1982. Between 1957 and 1973 Leggett spent three tours of duty as Senior Mechanical Superintendent in the Public Works Department at Bauchi in Northern Nigeria. He spent his free time exploring Bauchi Province and the wider region in pursuit of his amateur ethnographical and archaeological interests, while also making acquisitions for his collection.