Figure of a Hornblower
This figure probably stood on an altar dedicated to a deceased king, or oba. His conical hat and elaborately wrapped kilt with a projection on the left side all indicate that he is a court official. The necklace of leopard’s teeth was worn only by warriors. The horn this figure once held is believed to have been a type called an erere, blown during ceremonial sacrifices. A motif on the figure’s kilt depicting an elephant, whose trunk ends in a human right hand, identifies this work with the reign of the oba Esigie, thought to have ruled from 1504 to 1550.
- Culture: Edo
- Medium: Copper alloy
- Place Made: Benin, Edo State, Nigeria
- Dates: ca. 1504-50
- Dimensions: 24 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 6 in. (62.2 x 21.6 x 15.2 cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Arts of Africa
- Museum Location: This item is on view in South Gallery, 1st Floor
- Accession Number: 55.87
- Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- Caption: Edo. Figure of a Hornblower, ca. 1504-50. Copper alloy, 24 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 6 in. (62.2 x 21.6 x 15.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alastair B. Martin, the Guennol Collection, 55.87. Creative Commons-BY
- Catalogue Description: Blowing a horn or flute with his right hand, his left arm is truncated. He wears a netted cap with chevron design decorated with a feather. Around his neck are two collars: one of coral, the other of cowrie shells and teeth. He wears a kind of vest decorated with an interlocking design and supported by a strap around his neck. This is attached at the waist to a skirt which is drawn up at the side in a point. A belt is tied in a knot around the waist, and a lower belt with tassels connecting the skirt at the back. The over-skirt has a pattern of human faces, leopard faces, arms, half-moons, and other leaf forms. He wears five bracelets on his right hand. There is an undershirt exposed on the left side which has an interlocking design. The lower border of the outfit has a guilloche pattern. Condition: Generally good although the left arm is truncated just below the shoulder and the horn or flute is broken off at both ends. The tip of the feather on the cap is broken off, too. Judging from the surface which is remarkable in that it is free from corrosion products or patination, it has been kept mostly or entirely in protected places.
- Record Completeness: Best (85%)