Teaching Ideas

Encouraging Dialogue

For Students K-12

  • What words would you use to describe the figure on this plaque? What images indicate his strength or power?
  • We know that this plaque would have been one of many pieces used to decorate a king’s palace. How are other royal spaces decorated? What is the potential purpose of these decorations?
  • Around four hundred years ago, this plaque hung in the palace of the oba, or king. Pillars would have been covered with similar plaques showing scenes of court life, warriors, merchants, and African and European visitors. Look closely at this plaque--can you tell how it would have been attached to the pillar?

Making Connections

For Students K-12

  • Compare the image of the warrior chief in Plaque with single figure with that of the oba in the Waist pendant (1994.201.McD). How does each figure communicate strength or power?
  • Compare the figure on Plaque with single figure with the figure on Door with human figure (1991.362). How does the design of each emphasize the figure? Each artwork presents a warrior. What similarities and differences do you notice between these warrior figures?
  • Works of art sculpted in relief combine elements of two-dimensional art with elements of three-dimensional art. Examine Plaque with single figure. In what ways does it resemble sculpture, and in what ways does it resemble a painting or drawing? How did the artist create a sense of depth?
  • The rosettes on this plaque represent the sun’s daily voyage from the sea to the sky and back to the sea. How would you represent a journey in a single image? Draw a picture that describes a journey.
  • Position your body like the warrior chief in this plaque. Imagine you are wearing a leopard-tooth necklace and clothed in a shirt portraying the face of a leopard. How would this make you feel?