About this artwork
Benin royal altars have been embellished with matched pairs of carved elephant tusks since the 18th century, when ivory—a commodity traditionally controlled by the Benin king—dramatically increased in value. In the mid-19th century King Adolo (reigned about 1850–88) commissioned this tusk and 15 others for the altar of his father, Osemwende. It was anchored on a brass head like the one displayed nearby, and prominently features fish-legged oba (king) imagery in honor of the 15th-century ruler Ewuare.
- 150.5 × 195.6 × 12.7 cm (59 1/4 × 77 × 5 in.)
- Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin E. Hokin