bracelets (arm ornaments); armlets (arm ornament)

Two ivory bracelets carved with heads and other designs.

Edo 'kings' or Obas wore ivory armlets and bracelets at ceremonies. This armlet is decorated with the carved heads of Portuguese traders with long noses, flowing hair and beards, which probably signalled the Oba's access to foreign sources of wealth and power. Like brass and coral, ivory does not decay easily in the tropical environment and so was used in Edo royal regalia to emphasise the permanence and continuity of the ruling dynasty.

Collection Information

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