Queen Idia Story

A powerful and influential Queen in the Kingdom of Benin, a West African state located in what is now modern-day Nigeria.

She was the mother of Esigie, the Oba (King) of Benin, and played a key role in securing his succession to the throne.

Queen Idia is known for her leadership and political savvy, as well as her role in promoting the arts and culture of the Benin Kingdom. 

She was a patron of the arts and commissioned many works of bronze and ivory sculpture, which are now considered some of the finest examples of Benin art.

Queen Idia is also remembered for her contributions to the defence of the Benin Kingdom. 

She led a group of women in battle against the enemies of the kingdom, and is credited with helping to secure a victory for the Benin people.

Queen Idia is an important figure in the history of the Benin Kingdom and is remembered for her leadership, artistic patronage, and military contributions.

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  • Political Counsel

    Queen Idia was known for her wisdom and political acumen, and she provided valuable counsel to her son throughout his reign as King.

  • Mystical Power

    Obas (Kings) wore carved ivory pendant masks representing the iyoba during ceremonies designed to rid the kingdom of malevolent spiritual forces

  • Legacy

    • The famous Queen Idia Ivory mask can be found in Metropolitan museum of art in London
    • The mask served as the logo for the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture in 1977 held in Lagos, Nigeria.
    • The Queen Idia mask was featured on the one naira note currency of Nigeria.