Women and Political Power

By Mary Nooter Roberts
University of California, Los Angeles

NigeriaBenin Kingdom peoples

Queen Mother head


H. 53.3 cm (21")

Detroit Institute of Arts, City of Detroit Purchase, 26.180

Since that time, altars have been created to remember particular queen mothers and are furnished with cast brass commemorative heads like those of past kings. The altars are found both in the Queen Mother’s palace and also in the King's own palace. In addition to the commemorative head, which is distinguished by a coral-bead crown with a high, forward-pointing peak, the altar also contains bells, rattle-staffs, and other kinds of sculpture, such as cast brass roosters (Ezra 1992: 41).