Benin plaque: the oba with Europeans

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Benin head of a king

BENIN style. The powerful ancient Benin kingdom was founded by the son of an Ife king in the early 14th century AD. It was situated in the forest area of southern Nigeria, miles southeast of Ife. The art of bronze casting was introduced around the year The kingdom reached its maximum size and artistic splendor in the 15th and 16th century.

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We use cookies to make our website work more efficiently, to provide you with more personalised services or advertising to you, and to analyse traffic on our website. For more information on how we use cookies and how to manage cookies, please follow the ‘Read more’ link, otherwise select ‘Accept and close’. The ‘Benin Bronzes’ made of brass and bronze are a group of sculptures which include elaborately decorated cast plaques, commemorative heads, animal and human figures, items of royal regalia, and personal ornaments.

Many pieces were commissioned specifically for the ancestral altars of past Obas and Queen Mothers. They were also used in other rituals to honour the ancestors and to validate the accession of a new Oba. A key element of the Benin Bronzes are the plaques which once decorated the Benin Royal Palace and which provide an important historical record of the Kingdom of Benin.

This includes dynastic history, as well as social history, and insights into its relationships with neighbouring societies. The Benin Bronzes are preceded by earlier West African cast brass traditions, dating back into the medieval period. One element of the history of the Kingdom of Benin represented within the Bronzes is the kingdom’s early contacts with Europeans. Trade and diplomatic contacts between Benin and Portugal developed on the West African coast from the 15th century.

Remarkable Historical Figures of Ancient Benin Kingdom

Ex Africa semper aliquid novi. There is always something new out of Africa. Berlin boasts Benin bronzes but Benin bleeds badly. Paczensky and Herbert Ganslmayr, Nofretete will nach Hause.

Bronzes are believed to have been cast in Benin since the 13th century, with many from the collection dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The metal pieces.

Corresponding Author. To determine the age and authenticity of Benin bronzes collectors and curators have turned to scientific analyses for certainty. Galleries increasingly offer every security from TL Dating to spectrography for the Benin objects they advertise. The exercise requires a basic knowledge of physics and assumes art historians have had at least a secondary or high school education.

In the British launched a punitive expedition on the African kingdom of Benin. They returned with thousands of brass and ivory artifacts. Sought after in the art world, these objects command premium auction prices for African art. This applies only to those made before Not all objects made before were confiscated, however. Many remained in chieftaincy homes in the city, in the palaces of dukes Enogie outside the city, and in rural communities.

Occasionally such pieces come on the market. An example is the altar to the hand owned by Chief Ezomo that now resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Further, the brasscasting art tradition in Benin City continues, for tourists, for runners who doctor the pieces to make them look old, and for Nigerians.

Nigeria could borrow back its plundered Benin Bronzes: governor

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To determine the age and authenticity of Benin bronzes collectors and curators have turned to scientific analyses for certainty. Galleries.

Bronze Benin. Charles Gabriel Seligman, Oxford, U. Seligman, London, —; Nelson A. Benin ivory armband depicting Olokun. Ivory armlet Edo peoples, 15thth century AD From Benin, Nigeria This ivory armlet is worn by the Oba king of Benin in ceremonies in which he wears a coral costume, dances with a ceremonial sword and carries a gong.

The armlet helps to prevent the coral beads from becoming entangled during the Oba’s dance. British Museum. Post anything from anywhere!

The return of Benin’s looted bronzes is about restoring a century’s worth of heritage—and pride

The Museum is temporarily closed. Learn more and get the latest updates. The Benin Kingdom Gallery tells the story behind these magnificent works—sculptures, relief plaques, ritual objects and regalia—along with the complex history and traditions of the Edo peoples that inhabit the kingdom. Owned by kings called Oba , the exquisitely crafted objects were kept in the royal palace in Benin City, the capital of the kingdom, some playing roles in rituals and annual ceremonies that continue to this day.

On display for the first time in Boston, the 36 objects two Lehman Collection loans are included comprising 30 bronzes and six ivories, all date from the 15th to the 19th centuries.

that Benin cast artifacts are typically called “Benin bronzes” but they are now referred to as brass; the composition of a sample of objects.

Ife Nigeria bronze casting of a King, dated around 12th century. Collection online showcases more than four million of the Museum’s objects. From Indigenous clothing and Mexican skulls to necklaces made of dolphin teeth, this is one of the most extensive online museum databases in the world. The art of Ife, which flourished from the twelfth to the fifteenth century in southwestern Nigeria, in the area occupied by the Yoruba people, is unique in Africa in representing human beings with extraordinary naturalism.

The subject matter of most Ife art is centered around royal figures and their attendants, reflecting the political structure of a city-state ruled over by a divine king, the Oni of Ife. Sculpted heads were buried in the ground at the foot of giant trees and resurrected…. View auction details, art exhibitions and online catalogues; bid, buy and collect contemporary, impressionist or modern art, old masters, jewellery, wine, watches, prints, rugs and books at sotheby’s auction house.

One of the African Benin bronzes seen in British Museum.

Benin Sculpture

Ehikhamenor immediately objected to what he considered to be tantamount to theft, and he took to Instagram to express his displeasure. His audio starts at The report, by the academics Benedicte Savoy of France and Felwine Sarr of Senegal, recommends the return of African artifacts that are being held in French museums.

Well before the Savoy and Sarr report was even commissioned, Nigeria was engaged in a similar debate related to the fate of its Benin Bronzes, a different set of prized artifacts that date to the 13th century.

This sophisticated bronze sculpture commemorates the sacred person of an Oba or King. Benin head of a king fact file. Date. 16th century AD. Made in. Kingdom.

Their group brought gifts with them from British schoolchildren, including books and supplies. The local schools had been alerted in advance, and a crowd came down to the river banks to meet them; there was even a dance performance. It was a wonderful — if slightly overwhelming — welcome, Mr. Dunstone recalled. In the back of the crowd, Mr. Awoyemi, who was born in Britain and grew up in Nigeria, noticed two men holding what looked like political placards.

But just as the boat was about to push off, one of the men suddenly clambered down toward it.

The Art of Benin

The great aesthetic and historical significance of these artworks to the people of Benin raises the question: who should be able to access and enjoy them? Since , the Benin Dialogue Group, a consortium composed of the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments, delegates of the Oba king of Benin, and curators of African art at European museums, has been debating the future of Benin art held in Europe.

It has recently determined that European institutions will loan important pieces on a rotating basis to Nigeria for a permanent display, at a museum purpose-built to display the art of Benin that will open in The art of Benin entered European collections primarily as the result of the British occupation of Benin City in during the reign of Oba Ovonramwen r.

The Dating Game: The Scientific Analysis of Benin Copper-Alloy Art-From TL to ²¹​°Pb that Benin cast artifacts are typically called “Benin bronzes” but they.

BENIN CITY, Nigeria Reuters – Nigeria could be open to borrowing its plundered Benin Bronzes back from Western museums rather than demanding a full return, officials said, a compromise that might provide a template for settling other bitter disputes over colonial-era loot. British soldiers seized thousands of metal castings from the then separate Kingdom of Benin in , one of a series of acts of plunder that have long tainted relations between London and the territories where its agents held sway in the 19th century.

But Godwin Obaseki, governor of the southern Nigerian state of Edo where Benin city is now located, told Reuters he had been talking to European museum officials who have floated the idea of returning the objects on loan. The Benin haul – including thousands of metal plaques showing intricately cast scenes from court life as well as ivory and wooden carvings, all recognized treasures of African art – was split across museums in Britain, mainland Europe and as far afield as New Zealand.

The NCMM said senior officials had held talks with representatives of European museums to discuss a loan. Obaseki said he had been in touch with a group of representatives from European museums called the Benin Dialogue Group who, according to media reports, had suggested moving towards a permanent, but rotating, exhibition of loaned objects in Nigeria. Up to now, it was unclear how Nigeria would respond to the idea.

Other governments, including Ethiopia and Greece, have rejected the idea of loans and demanded full returns, saying they should not have to borrow their own stolen property. The museum has regularly argued that it preserves the objects in its care and exposes them to a global audience. The site, covered by grass knee-deep in some areas, is currently occasionally used to hold cattle brought as gifts to the ruler. The art of crafting works from metal has persisted in Benin, more than a century after the British ransacked the palace.

The Dating Game: The Scientific Analysis of Benin Copper-Alloy Art-From TL to ²¹°Pb

Lot Fine Antiques , 24th June Inclusive of Buyer’s Premium. Please note that due to current government regulations our auctions will be held live online with no in-room bidding available. There are lots of other ways to join our auctions remotely:. By absentee bid If you are unable to attend the auction we can bid on your behalf.

Long in Exile, the Looted Benin Bronzes Tell the Story of a Mighty African Most of them date from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, and offer.

T he bronzes of Benin are the outcome of a long tradition of bronze casting which can be traced back over more than two millennia to the ancient Nok people, who lived on the plains of Jos and the Yoruba people who flourished between the 10th and the 19th Centuries In the south and west of Nigeria. Among the oldest known African sculptures are terracotta figures created by the Nok people around AD.

Superb bronze and terracotta head made in what is now Ife, Nigeria, from the s onwards. Benin art was thus predominantly Royal and so closely tied to the rituals used in service of divine Kingship that it underwent few modifications over the generations. There can be little doubt that this West African art was an indigenous development fuelled by the need for lifelike images of Royalty for funerary rituals and the cult of ancestors from whom the Kings derived their significant power and authority.

In the former Kingdom of Benin, Western Nigeria, great artists produced high-quality hand made bronze sculptured figures and heads during the s and up to the early part of the s. The sculpture had no comparable technical accomplishment or spiritual poise and serenity produced in Europe between the fall of the Roman Empire and some centuries after the date of the most beautiful Ife works. There is, therefore, no doubt that these figurines are unique, special, and extremely valuable in their class and entirety — as ancient Benin was home to some of the most exceptional art ever produced on the Continent.

Kingdoms of Africa West Africa, Benin bronzes

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