The Parrot’s Tale

Gore Charles

in Art, Performance and Ritual in Benin City

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780748633166
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652983 | DOI:
The Parrot’s Tale

Show Summary Details


This chapter examines the use of a particular artefact, the red tail feather of the African grey parrot. This feather adorns the heads of priests and priestesses as a marker of full initiation into the rites of the particular deities they serve. The chapter analyses its imagery, comparing it to that of other feathers which feature in the ideas and practices of these shrines, and examines how individuals establish different, and sometimes opposing, significances in relation to it. This has implications for other artefacts and also for the more customary objects of Benin art history such as, for example, the plaques and other leaded brasses.

Keywords: red tail feather; African grey parrot; initiation rites; Benin art history

Chapter.  10736 words. 

Subjects: African Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.