This salt cellar is made of ivory and dates from the sixteenth century. It was made by Benin craftsmen and features Portuguese traders shown with long hair, beards and hooked noses together with their ship. It is an example of a type of object probably made specifically for European visitors to Benin. The salt cellar offers a good chance to explore the contacts between West Africa and Europe in this period and to understand the sophistication and richness of the culture of Benin.
Found/acquired: Benin City, present day Nigeria (Edo State)
About AD 1525 – 1600
Kingdom of Benin
height: 30 cm
width: 11 cm
(Please always check with the museum that the object is on display before travelling)
Next section: About the object