The Oba (King) was at the heart of Benin City rule, supported by a number of warriors and chiefs that helped with the protection and management of the kingdom respectively. To highlight the various roles and ranks held in court, the chiefs and warriors wore official elements in their costumes given to them by the Oba. Uhunmwun ekue brass and ivory pendants are one such costume element, worn at an angle (or horizontally) on the left hip, taking the form of different shapes (including human, ram, crocodile, baboon or leopard heads).
Senior chiefs and titleholders within the kingdom were given human head shaped pendants, worn as a visible sign of their status and ranking within the community.
NOTE: Several southern Nigerian cultures historically produced brass hip pendants with human head pendants being the most commonly produced1.
Common features among all uhunmwun ekue pendants:
Sub-type variations (Human):