The depiction of a triad is common in Benin art and usually hierarchical in form, with the central figure, representing the King, or Oba, differentiated from his less important attendants. The corpus of pendant plaques, however, generally departs from this convention. Here the figures are similarly attired; the top of the skirt is indicated on both, and they wear the same close fitting tunics and collars of coral, and the same beaded crowns with beaded shafts. The significance of this is unclear, and the literature offers no information as to the function of these objects. We know that other types of Edo pendants were sent to vassals of the Oba as 'emblems of their authority' (Ben-Amos, The Art of Benin, 1980, p. 18). However there are no reports of any of this type outside of Benin, and as they are not depicted on objects which chronicle the achievements of the Obas, they may have been 'used in a private context', outside of the 'propagandist' purpose of other pendants. (Ben-Amos & Rubin, ibid., p. 101).
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