The identity of the bird of prophecy depicted on Benin ideophones is enigmatic. The iconic brass castings of this bird serve as a reminder of the Benin-Idah War of ca. 1515–1517 and offer one of the visual props of that event among the

The oral traditions of the Benin-Idah War offer several memorable markers. The exquisite Idia ivory hip mask is distinctive, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art has one of two almost identical masks, with its more sublime counterpart in the British Museum in London. The Met pendant, part of the Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, is modeled with an openwork tiara and collar of Portuguese mercenaries and mudfish, the latter representing the mediators between land and water, an apt artistic way to depict the visiting Portuguese from abroad. Another distinctive...

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