Oba Ovonramwen's Stool (Agba)

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Benin Kingdom, Nigeria

Oba Ovonramwen's Stool (Agba), Late 19th century

Wood, mirror, and brass nails
39.5 x 62.5 x 33 cm (15 1/2 x 24 5/8 x 13 in.)
The Trustees of the British Museum, London, Af1898,0630.2

According to the notes of Ernst Roupell, the member of the British military force who took possession of this stool in Benin, Oba Ovonramwen was sitting on it when he was sentenced to exile by a military tribunal in September 1898. The stool is heavily embellished with bas-relief images that evoke the oba's wealth through trade. At center, the oba is portrayed in coral regalia and he raises an eben sword. In a boat to the side, a European man holds a saber. Barrels for transporting palm oil, Benin’s major commodity at the time, are portrayed around the figures.