Ceremonial sword, mid 20th century


Wood, metal, ivoryexpand_more

Gift of the Ullrich Collectionexpand_more  97.167.48

Every high-ranking dignitary in the Benin kingdom owns a sword like this, even today, but not for smiting enemies. The eben sword, with its fanlike blade and hooped handle, is purely ceremonial. During an annual festival to honor ancestors, particularly those of the king, all the dignitaries dance with their eben, tossing and twirling it in the air before touching it to an ancestral shrine.

Ceremonial sword
Accession Number
Curator Approved

This record is from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator, so may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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