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    Abstract

    A Benin Ivory.-In Man for January, Capt. T. A. Joyce figures and describes a carved ivory ewer from Benin recently presented to the British Museum by the Christy Trustees. The ewer is made of a section of elephant tusk covering an iron lining which is prolonged into a lip everted over the ivory jacket. An iron foot also everted has been added at the base. A wooden handle is fitted at the side, obviously a later addition, as it cuts into the carved design at the lower point of junction with the vessel. The entire exterior of the ivory is covered with carving in rounded relief. The ornament is arranged in two horizontal bands separated by a band carved in interlaced pattern. At the base of the ewer is a second band of interlaced carving. In the upper register is represented a catfish, a centipede, a frog, a two-headed bird, and a. fish; in the lower an elephant's head, a crocodile seizing a fish, and a grazing antelope. The designs are excellent examples of the tendency towards symmetry characteristic of artists of all ages. The elephant's head is seen from above, the tusks and ears have been curtailed to fit the space, and the trunk is divided into two diverging sections, each terminating in a human hand holding a branch. The specimen is believed to be unique. It was probably carved soon after Portuguese power began to spread on the west coast of Africa in the sixteenth century. The shape of the ewer suggests European influence, but the artist has preserved his native style in all its purity. The ewer is 9-2 in. in height.

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    Research Items. Nature 127, 251–253 (1931). https://doi.org/10.1038/127251a0

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