The Kingdom of Benin, in modern-day Nigeria, reached the height of its power in the late 1500s. Its capital in Benin City was ruled by an Oba (king), regarded as the Edo people’s highest spiritual and political authority. The Oba was also the head of government.
On this plaque, the Oba stands in the centre surrounded by four attendants. The textured cloth around his waist may represent imported Indian fabric, which was brought to West Africa by Portuguese traders.