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The mask is believed to have been produced in the early sixteenth century for the King or ObaEsigie, the king of Benin, to honor his mother, Idia. The oba may have worn it at rites commemorating his mother, although today such pendants are worn at annual ceremonies of spiritual renewal and purification.

The mask is said to represent Idia, the mother of Oba Esigie who ruled in the sixteenth century.

Culture and Traditions

Benin’s culture is as rich and diverse as its landscape. With strong religious roots to inform most of the traditions, Benin’s culture is certainly one of the most unique and interesting in Africa. During the 13th century, the indigenous Edo people were run by a group of local chieftains. However, by the 15th century, a single ruler, known as the oba, had asserted control.

Donation Details

Dan Wainberg donated in the year 2003.


The Appraised Amount is $900,000.00.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

J. B . Coleman Library


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