Description & Technical information

Ivory, Nigeria, probably 17th century. Extremely rare ivory bracelet originally made for an Oba, a local King or Dignitary.
The Kingdom of Owo, mainly formed by Yoruba ethnic groups, together with the ancient Kingdom of Benin (1440-1897), essentially formed by Edo peoples, were situated in the south of modern day Nigeria, and had their roots in the Kingdom of Ife in the ancient city of Ile-Ife - cradle of the Yoruba culture. The historical ties between these two kingdoms and Ife, contributed to their sense of identity, justifying the ownership and sharing of certain political, religious and artistic aspects.
William Fagg (1951), comparing ivory objects from Benin and from Owo, concludes that they share considerable similarities in their iconographic and technical details, albeit being possible to identify specific differentiating characteristics particulalry in the depiction of the figures faces. This historian also suggests that the Igbesanwan - the guild of Benin ivory carvers - did possibly recruit artisans from Owo to work in its workshops, explaining the close association between the two production centres.

Date:  17th century
Period:  1600-1750, 17th century
Origin:  Nigeria
Medium: Ivory
Dimensions: 12.7 cm (5 inches)
Provenance: Collection Alpoim Galvão
Categories: Works of Art