Benin Kingdom BENIN COURT DWARF:
Benin Court Dwarfs played a very specific role at the court of Oba in Benin. They were there to cheer up the prince and to speak the truth in a lighthearted way.
Jean Pierre Hallet Collection – California, USA.
A Benin Court Dwarf had functioned as court jesters in Benin since the 15th century. Their responsibilities go beyond amusement to include the care of certain shrines, overseeing activities at the market, gathering information for the oba, and protecting him from deception and witchcraft. These highly individualized sculptures may be portraits, a rarity in Benin.