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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Plaque: Chief with warrior

Plaque: Chief with warrior

ca. 1600-1650

Filled with natural observation, plaques from Benin allow us to enter into a kingdom at its height over 400 years ago. In this example, we're introduced to a chief who is wielding a sword and wearing a leopard hip mask, as well as a leopard's tooth necklace. In Benin cosmology, the leopard is admired for its ability to match stealth with restraint and moderation. Such a mask is worn by a chief who served under the Oba (king).
17 5/16 x 15 1/2 x 2 13/16 in. (43.9 x 39.4 x 7.2 cm)
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Provenance: Taken from the royal palace of Benin City during the Benin Expedition of 1897, sent by Sir Ralph Moor, Consul-General of the Niger Coast Protectorate, to Charles H. Read, Keeper of the Department of British and Medieval Antiquities and Ethnography, British Museum; sold to Lieutenant-General Pitt-Rivers, ca. July 27, 1898; Pitt Rivers Museum, Farnham, Dorset, England; dispersed and sold to [Mathias Komor, New York, by 1958]; purchased by Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington, 1958
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, African Panoplies: Art For Rulers, Traders, Hunters and Priests, Apr. 20 - Aug. 14, 1988.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Benin Art: Collecting Concerns, Sept. 15, 2021 - ongoing.

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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