Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas

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Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas
It is my third visit to the museum of Metropolitan art, this time we are focusing on the arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. In the meantime the instructor gives important facts, and explanations about the purpose and meaning of the objects created. One of my favorites is the "Pendant Mask: Iyoba" from the Benin culture and its representation of power.
First of all, this pendant mask was created by the Benin culture in Nigeria. The texture and the fine materials of the pendant specify that it was worn by a king on ceremonial occasions. It is believed that this object was created by the royal ivory carvers of the king. The main material used in this mask is Ivory, Iron and Copper. Furthermore the Ivory was made out of the elephant tusk which was highly prized, and it was a symbol of wealth and purity.
In addition to the value the materials had, this mask also represents the influence the mother of the oba (king) had in the Benin society. Moreover, "Idia" was the mother and advisor to one of the most powerful leader of Benin, Esigie who ruled in the early sixteenth century. Esigie created this pendant to honor Idia for helping to secure his claim to the throne and for the wise counsel that she provided him throughout his reign. As a result of Idia’s role, the title of Queen Mother (Iyoba) was introduced to the Benin court, granting the mother of the oba (king) equal authority to that of senior town chiefs.
Furthermore, the mask also gives information about the ancient Benin society. For instance, the mask displays multiple figures, each one with a different meaning for example, the mudfish that line her head and collar. The mudfish is one of the most primary symbols of Benin Kingship. This creature was associated with the qualities of aggressiveness due to its electric stings and the ability to survive in water and on land as the Oba move through both earth and t…