Trapezoid bell with banded loop handle made from copper alloy. Sides decorated with incised patterns, one side with anthropomorphic head.
Brass bells were among the altar pieces placed on the royal altars in the Oba’s palace in the city of Benin. The Oba rings such bells before making offerings at the royal altars in order to get the attention of the spirits of his ancestors. Edo warriors also wore bells during military campaigns in order to invoke protection from the spirit world. Almost all Benin bronze and brass altar pieces in western museums today was taken as loot by British forces during the so-called ‘punitive expedition’ sent to conquer the Edo Kingdom in 1897.