SPECIAL ADVISORY: In accordance with Yale University’s revised COVID-19 protocols, the Yale University Art Gallery will close to the public beginning Friday, October 16, 2020. Learn More

African Art

Janus Plaque

18th–19th century


12 13/16 × 10 1/16 in. (32.5 × 25.5 cm)
Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection
This plaque representing a human face was originally affixed to a wooden headdress with a second face, creating a janus image. The headdress has been used in water-spirit worship. The inverted crescents on the forehead connect it to the Òsugbó association.
Made in Guinea Coast, Nigeria
On view
Ijebu Yorùbá
18th–19th century

G.I. Jones, Nigeria. Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York. February 11, 1977; Charles B. Benenson Collection, Greenwich, Conn, 1977–2004; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Dennis Duerden, African Art: An Introduction (London: Hamyln, 1974), 34, ill.

Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, Fine African, Oceanic, and Pre-Columbian Art, sale cat. (February 11, 1977), lot 165, ill.

Wilson P. Foss, Nigerian Splendor: A Checklist of the Exhibition, Dartmouth College Museum and Galleries, Jaffe Friede, Strauss and Barrows Galleries, Hopkins Center, Hanover, N.H., 12 April to 18 May 1980, exh. cat. (Hanover, N.H.: Dartmouth College, 1980), no. 54, ill.

Henry John Drewal and John Pemberton III, Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought (New York: Museum for African Art, 1989), fig. 43.

“Acquisitions, July 1, 2005–June 30, 2006,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2006): 222.

Frederick John Lamp, Amanda Maples, and Laura M. Smalligan, Accumulating Histories: African Art from the Charles B. Benenson Collection at the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2012), 167, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.