parasol on long wooden staff; wooden and metal mechanism; cloth parasol attached to wooden elements with strips of yellow cloth; white on underside; hanging pendants around edges of parasol, with appliques of figures with tools, pots, snakes, staff, tree and hut with pink and black object; top is yellow with red and black trim, with red and black applique symbols or tools (?); edge has black trim with pink circles and blue and grey crescents

Royal parasol, mid to late 19th century

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2016 Accession Highlight

This large parasol, a distinctive sign of kingship in the Kingdom of Abomey, founded in 1625 by the Fon people in today’s Benin on the West African Gulf of Guinea, gives testimony to the grandeur of the powerful state and of the artistic work of the court guild of tailors.

Until this purchase, Mia's small collection of Fon objects was without a textile example. This, combined with the parasol's visual impact, historical significance, and extreme rarity, makes it a significant addition to our collection.

parasol on long wooden staff; wooden and metal mechanism; cloth parasol attached to wooden elements with strips of yellow cloth; white on underside; hanging pendants around edges of parasol, with appliques of figures with tools, pots, snakes, staff, tree and hut with pink and black object; top is yellow with red and black trim, with red and black applique symbols or tools (?); edge has black trim with pink circles and blue and grey crescents