Queen Iden of Benin Empire

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Size: 7.5 x 6 x 12 inches
Material: Bronze


The Benin Empire was one of the oldest and most developed states in the coastal hinterland of West Africa. The empire was a well-organized and sophisticated polity that existed before the major European colonial interlude. The Benin Empire rose to great heights due to the contributions and sacrifices of many men, women, leaders and warlords.
One of them was Queen Iden, whose sacrifice helped shape the Benin Kingdom. She was the queen during the reign of Oba Ewuape, in around 1700 AD. Her husband ascended the throne in very turbulent times. His kingdom and chiefs rebelled against him, and his palace was empty, except for the Queen. The oracle divined that for peace to be restored to the kingdom, a human sacrifice was needed. Queen Iden offered herself as a sacrificial lamb to restore the monarchy. She was given a befitting burial and her tomb lies close to Oba market (in Benin City) till date.
This beautiful sculpture of Queen Iden pays homage to her heroic sacrifice.