Pendant Plaque (Globalisation)


This large pendant may have designed as a costume ornament and would probably have been worn by an Oba or by another title-holder during court ceremonies. The relief imagery shows symbols of divine authority, including snakes and elephants’ heads. The two mudfish and the frog depicted in the lower half of the plaque are creatures associated with the sea god Olokun, bringer of wealth and fertility. This pendant plaque was purchased in April 1898 from Henry Ling Roth. Roth was a curator at the Bankfield Museum in Halifax from June 1890 to 1924 and author of the 1903 book ‘Great Benin Its Customs, Art and Horrors’ in which the plaque is illustrated on page 230. Ling Roth was the brother of Dr Felix Roth who served as surgeon to the Advance Guard with the British forces that attacked and looted Benin in February 1897. The plaque is now lost and is presumed to have been destroyed during the fire that gutted the museum after it was bombed in 1941.