The Art of the Personal Object
The first section of the installation comprises commemorative heads and figures dating from the 15th through the 19th centuries. One of the most striking works on view, a 16-inch-high statue of an oba from the 17th century, is depicted in the elaborate regalia of the royal court and carries a staff nearly equal to his height.

Figure of a King (Oba),
19th century,
Edo peoples, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria
Copper alloy
41 cm (16 1/8 in.)
85-19-12, gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn to the Smithsonian Institution in 1966
Photograph by Kathy Corday

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