possibly 1800s

Copper alloy

Overall: 36.2 x 9.9 cm (14 1/4 x 3 7/8 in.)

James Albert Ford Memorial Fund 1938.5


This clapper was played by striking the beak of the bird with a metal rod. It is used in a ritual called ugie oro, which commemorates an early 16th-century military victory of King Esigie. This festival illustrates the divine power of the Benin king to protect the kingdom and its inhabitants against natural and supernatural forces. The bird has been identified as a vulture, ibis, hornbill, eagle, or kingfisher.

See also
African Art
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Copper alloy

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