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[Tidbits] A Mask Pendant


#1

Is she pale because she’s worried? Is she pale because she put on too
much powder for the ball? Or is she pale because she’s made of ivory?
I tend to lean to the latter. Especially in view of the fact that she
is a Queen Mother Pendant Mask. One cannot juxtapose instinct and
fact.

She is the Queen Mother of Nigeria, Kingdom of Benin, of the Edo
peoples, 16th century. Made of Ivory and iron and copper… though
truth be told all I see is Ivory. She has an interesting look … our
Queen. Her right eye is looking downward and to her right … and her
left eye is also looking downward but is popping out a tad and
looking straight ahead. She is. one might say. a cockeyed Queen. Long
live the cockeyed queen of Benin, I say.

Her nostrils flare. her lips are clenched. She does not appear–to
me–to be a happy Queen. But she is African art personified and was
once worn as a pectoral by the King of Benin. She is called Idia. the
iyobia (queen mother) and counselor to the oba (king) Esigie. It’s a
little like Tristan and Isolde but from a different place and a
different time and a different culture. but otherwise identical. No?
She is framed by a collar and hairdo of openwork carvings featuring
miniature motifs which were attributes of power. She is the metaphor
for great wealth and the mudfish.

Do not ask me what this means or what “they” meant by saying it … I
have no idea. Do not be surprised. Very often whilst in the midst of
my epic journeys through life I find myself confronted by “they” with
their thoughts and statements and ideas about which I have no clue.
Truth be told. I find as I begin my approach toward the end of the
treadmill. that I do not understand considerably more than what I do
understand. This is perhaps an act of wisdom. The more I know. the
more I know that I know less. Or. to quote the late George Bernard
Shaw: “The more you learn, the more you know. The more you know, the
more you forget. The more you forget, the less you know. So why
bother to learn?” Great concept. Ya gotta love old Bernie. In my
youth I was a tad different. That was a time that though I knew less.
I knew I knew more. How many of you know what I mean?

Well. there it is my friends. The end of this run. But there will be
more. Or so one can hope. So. how about it? Want to see an Ivory
pendant of a Benin queen in all it’s gloried splendor? Of course you
do. How could you not? You know where. My home Current Tidbits.
Click. And there she will be in all her cockeyed sculpted Ivory.

And there ya have it. That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
Benjamin Mark