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Head of an Oba

Arts of Africa

One of the first duties of a new Edo oba, or king, is to establish an altar to his father and commission artists to create objects to adorn it. The altar serves both as a tribute to the deceased oba and a point of contact with his spirit. This cast-brass head would have been placed on such an altar. Its red color and shiny surface make it both beautiful frightening, appropriate attributes for a powerful monarch. The high collar and beaded headpiece represent the coral-beaded costume worn by reigning obas.

CULTURE Edo
MEDIUM Copper alloy
DATES 18th century
DIMENSIONS 11 7/8 x 7 7/8 in. (30.2 x 20.0 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 39.111
CREDIT LINE Alfred W. Jenkins Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION Edo. Head of an Oba, 18th century. Copper alloy, 11 7/8 x 7 7/8 in. (30.2 x 20.0 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Alfred W. Jenkins Fund, 39.111. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, 39.111_overall_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (91%)
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Head of an Oba

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