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Double Bell (Ẹgogo)

Arts of Africa

This is one of the oldest surviving African ivory sculptures; only six of these ivory gongs are known. Double gongs were used by the oba (king) during the Emobo ceremony to drive away evil spirits. The carving here depicts the oba, supported by his military commander and his heir.
DATES early 16th century
DIMENSIONS 14 1/8 × 3 15/16 × 2 9/16 in. (35.8 × 10 × 6.5 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS Written in black ink on inside of bell: "BENIN. BT. OF MR H. LING ROTH. 1898."; written in red ink on inside of bell: "58.160"
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE A. Augustus Healy Fund and Frank L. Babbott Fund
PROVENANCE Until 1897, Benin Kingdom; 1897, taken from the Royal Palace during the British military raid and occupation of Benin City by Dr. Felix Norman Roth; 1898, collection of Henry Ling Roth of Halifax, United Kingdom; October 2, 1898, purchased from Henry Ling Roth by Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers of Dorset, United Kingdom; 1898-1958, collection of the Pitt-Rivers Museum, Dorset, United Kingdom; 1958, purchased from the Pitt-Rivers Museum by Mathais Komor, New York, NY; October 8, 1958, purchased from Mathias Komor by the Brooklyn Museum.
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CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Two bell forms on a long handle; large bell carved with 3 figures: chief standing with arms upheld by attendants; background is elaborately carved with curved interlocking pattern, small bells or facsimiles of same run-up sides of sisturn and along top; one side of top has projecting human figure, on top of small bell is an alligator head holding a human hand. Base is geometrically carved. Large bell originally showed mudfish figure and snake-wing bird.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Edo. Double Bell (Ẹgogo), early 16th century. Ivory, 14 1/8 × 3 15/16 × 2 9/16 in. (35.8 × 10 × 6.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, A. Augustus Healy Fund and Frank L. Babbott Fund, 58.160. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 58.160_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 58.160_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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