Ewer decorated floral scrolls in fine blue-and-white and a slim handle. The original spout broke off and a silver replacement and lid are later additions.
The shape of this ewer looks back to metalwork models of the Sassanian Empire (based in modern Iran) that were first imported to China in the seventh century. The floral scrolls have their origin in ancient West Asian art, as seen on architecture and carpet.
Face mask embroidered extensively wtih glass beads. Two long panels hang down the front and back of the wearer. Humanoid face at top has two round eye holes allowing the wearer to see, a strip of fabric for nose and open, upturned mouth. Ears are protruding disks attached on either side of the face . Top of the head is covered with small, corklike knobs covered with black cloth. The beadwork is predominantly green, with intricate, scallop-shaped patterns along edge of panels, and vertical, star-like patterns filling center of the panels. Interior of panels is lined with damask.
Stylized images of the elephant abound in the pageantry that surrounded Bamileke kings and men of distinction. The elephant masquerade was danced by members of powerful men’s regulatory societies that oversaw the ritual and judicial affairs of the kingdom. Performed at royal festivals and funerals, these masks honored the authority of leadership and the transcendental forces of the forest.
A seated king, at the left, holds the hand of a swooning woman who is supported by another woman. The supporting woman looks back at the king.
Derived from the Old Testament story of the Jewish heroine, Esther, Guercino depicts the dramatic moment when Esther enters the king's presence unbidden and faints in distress. Although she is his queen, no one may approach the king without his permission.
The Museum of Art is fortunate to have two preparatory drawings for the Guercino painting of "Esther Before Ahasuerus" (the other is 2008/1.161). In this work, Guercino is exploring the psychological relationships between the principal figures: Ahasuerus, his queen Esther, and one of two attendants who support the queen. Between these two studies, it is possible to examine Guercino's process of arriving at his final composition. This sheet carefully explores the responses of the three figures, concentrating on the gesture of clemency as Ahasuerus reaches out to Esther with both his scepter and, in more personal concern, with his hand.
Round beaded crown with six radiating bands (predominantly green with white, metallic and blue accents) that stem from the central axis upon which the big blue-headed bird sits. Smaller birds perch at the base of the bands. Bottom rim predominantly red with white, metallic and blue accents. Spaces in between vertical bands are filled with yellow feathers or possibly synthetic material.
Yoruba rulers or Obas use this type of head covering for everyday occasions. This vibrant version is a byproduct of creative cross-fertilization in between European and Yoruba royal headgear. The birds adorning the coronet are ubiquitous features of royal crowns, while the general design structure is reminiscent of bejeweled royal British crowns.
Cast ceremonial sword. The "fan" shape is indicative of the royal eben type. The general shape may be derived from northern, Sahelian influences. The looped handle is also typical of the eben type.
The eben sword form is highly regular, despite being wielded by many different individuals int he Benin kingdom. The creation and distribution of eben is controlled by the oba (Benin king), andits display signifies fealty to the monarchy. The regularity of the form represents the triumph of the kingdom's political constitution over the lesser forms of social organization.
Hanging scroll. A female figure is sitting against a blank background. She wears multiple layers of kimono, her hair is black and long, and her face white. She is watching a spider, descending from ceiling; her arms are extending in front as if she is trying to catch it. A screen of white and brown fabric is on her right, and an oil ramp with flame is on the other side. Three rolls of paper are placed in front of her. There are the artist's signature and seal on the left lower corner.
The painting is mounted on light blue brocade with designs of auspicious characters and objects, including character “longevity,” treasures, and double gourds. The sides are made of golden brocade, but the gold foil is almost worn out.
Warm holes on the upper right side, some small stains and dark lines on the top and near the face of the figure. Two repaired damages on the lower right corner. Some warm holes on the mounting as well. The wooden scroll bar is black lacquered.
Sotôri hime (or Oto hime) was the younger sister of Ôsaka no Onakatsu hime, the wife of Inkyô tennô (412-453 CE) whom that Emperor installed in his palace. She was of peerless beauty and a poetess. She is often represented as a Court Lady, holding in her hand a shuttle, or in the act of weaving, being credited with the introduction of silk weaving into Japan. (Edmunds, Pointers and Clues to the Subjects of Chinese and Japanese Art, 1934)
Beaded, veil fringed, canonical crown; seven long beaded tassles dangle from the bottom rim of the crown; entire surface area is embroidered with multi-colored seed beads; three tiers of colorful faces surround the perimeter; a series of three dimensional birds perch on top of the crown; the largest bird sits on tip and is removable.
Oba’s wear royal crowns on state occasions. Its conical shape emphasizes the Yoruba ruler’s otherworldly presence on earth while subsuming his human identity. A cone—a flattened triangle—acts as a metaphorical device that takes the spirit world of above and channels it downward into the inner space of the ruler’s head. Yoruba philosophy contends that a ruler’s destiny, source or authority, and power all stem from his head. Hence, head beautification and protection are among the most important priorities in Yoruba royal arts.
The Princess is standing with one gloved hand hanging by her side and the other, ungloved, resting on the banister of the stairs. In front of her, the stairs rise to a large stone building (possibly Windsor Castle). In the background is a deep landscape with figures in the distance at the right.
Cast brass head of a human. An opening at the top would have supported a carved elephant tusk. The heads wears elaborate "winged" headgear.
Commemorative heads wear used in royal shrines in the Benin kingdom. Kings were honored and cared for after death, with their shrine as the focal point of supplication. The head is particularly important in Benin spirituality, as the head holds the fate of the individual. The king's head, however, holds the fate of the whole kingdom, and so must be properly cared for.
The Princess is seated at a desk covered with books. Her hands are resting on her knee and her foot rests on an ottoman. To the left behind her there are drapes and Windsor Castle can be seen through the window.