Hip Ornament: Face, Edo peoples, Nigeria, Court of Benin, 16th–17th century. Brass. H. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls, 1991, 1991.17.49. © 2000–2018 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Benin history, religion, and political structure are brought to life every year in a series of palace rituals intended to purify the kingdom and renew the spiritual powers of the king, the oba. Many of these vivid and solemn rites were introduced by individual obas in order to commemorate events in their reigns and to promote important principles in the ideology of divine kingship.