One of my favorite past times is to wander a museum without any particular destination in mind. I usually stumble across something new to treasure, a discovery that feels personal, as if it was just placed there for me to find and enjoy. I call these occasions "Frankenweiler moments," after one of my favorite young adult books.
And just like in the book, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of my favorite places to wander.
One of my recent finds is this ivory pendant mask. It was probably worn at the hip by the Oba, or king, of Benin. It is believed to represent a queen mother, an important political leader whose power was centered outside the Oba's palace. I love the force of character in the lines of her face, and the care and sensitivity with which the artist shaped a community archetype into a personal portrait.
All hail the Queen.