The original story associated with this piece is that it is known as "The Royal Truth Pot." During the height of the Benin Empire, it is said that a Benin Oba would use a statue like this one to determine when somebody was telling the truth or not. For example, if two Chiefs were having a dispute, the Oba would wask the disputing Cheifs a question, and if he believed that one of them was lying, he would cut off their head and put it inside the pot. The story goes that arguments typically ended before they even got to The Royal Truth Pot because fear of losing one's head is enough to diffuse most arguments. Even though there is currently no scholarly evidence available to either confirm of disconfirm this story, it doesn't diminish the value of stories like this, passed on through oral traditions.
Royal Truth Pot