Skip Navigation

Plaque (Ama)

Arts of Africa

Portuguese explorers and traders arrived by sea in the kingdom of Benin in 1485. Representations of the Portuguese were quickly incorporated into the art of the royal court. They were invariably represented wearing sixteenth-century European dress, with long hair, flowing beards, and moustaches. These depictions symbolized the wealth that the obas (kings) of Benin derived from foreign trade. One of the chief commodities imported from Portugal was the copper from which the plaques were made.
MEDIUM Copper alloy
DATES 16th or 17th century
DIMENSIONS 19 13/16 x 15 9/16 x 2 1/2 in. (50.3 x 39.5 x 6.4 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos
PROVENANCE Prior to 1953, provenance not yet documented; before 1953, acquired by Julius Carlebach of New York, NY; by 1953, acquired by Millicent A. Rogers of Taos, NM; 1953, inherited from Millicent A. Rogers by Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos; 1956, gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos to the Brooklyn Museum.
Provenance FAQ
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Full figure of Portuguese warrior, holds mace, cap with two feathers, flowing hair, beard, wears skirt, sword, three rosettes in background, chased surface with floral motif, figure also shows elaborate surface treatment.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Edo. Plaque (Ama), 16th or 17th century. Copper alloy, 19 13/16 x 15 9/16 x 2 1/2 in. (50.3 x 39.5 x 6.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 56.6.74. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 56.6.74_PS2.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 56.6.74_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.