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African Art

Figural Group

18th–19th century


9 7/16 × 7 7/8 × 2 9/16 in. (24 × 20 × 6.5 cm)
Charles B. Benenson, B.A. 1933, Collection
This triad is closely related to a powerful representation within the art of the Benin Kingdom known as the “royal triad,” in which two attendants flank a king and support his arms. In Benin, such a composition signified the dependence of the ruler on his own people to be able to govern. Here, however, the central figure represents an older, deeply initiated member of the Òsugbó association, who is flanked by two more junior members of the society.
Guinea Coast, Nigeria
On view
Ìjèbú Yorùbá
18th–19th century

Wright Gallery, New York, to 1984; Charles B. Benenson Collection, Greenwich, Conn, 1984–2004; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Susan Vogel and Jerry L. Thompson, Closeup: Lessons in the Art of Seeing African Sculpture from an American Collection and the Horstmann Collection, exh. cat. (New York: Museum for African Art, 1990), 146, fig. 76.

“Wright Gallery advertisement,” African Arts 18 no.2 (1985): 7, ill.

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

Richard Barnes, “Objects of Desire,” Yale Alumni Magazine (September/October 2004): 33, ill.

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), 170, 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.