The Art of Benin
British Museum Press, 2010 - Art - 144 pages
When the Portuguese made the first European contact with the west African kingdom of Benin in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, the kingdom was experiencing a golden age. Its authority on the Guinea Coast was expanding through military conquests, and during the sixteenth century it became a leading power in the region and a major trade partner for European merchants. Benin remained an influential independent state and a major political and economic power on the coast, though with periods of both decline and prosperity, until its conquest by the British in 1897. The arrival in Europe of the treasures from Benin produced an enormous sensation, causing a re-evaluation of and new appreciation for African art. This sumptuous photographic book showcases a series of specially taken photographs of key pieces in the British Museums collection. It opens with an introduction to the kingdom, court and culture of Benin, which is followed by thematic sections including kingship, ceremony, women, Europeans, and animals. Throughout, stunning photographs of the works are featured alongside close-up details.
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HEADS AND HANDS IN BENIN HEARTS
THE RITUAL YEAR
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18th century Africa ancestral altars art of Benin artistic bead regalia bells Benin art Benin Bronzes Benin City bird of prophecy bracelets brass casters brass heads brass sheeting British Museum carved tusks Cast brass centre ceremonial Commemorative head copper coral beads court crocodile decorated depicted diam dress eben elephant European Ewuare facial scarification Felix von Luschan female festival figure flywhisk foreign geometric grey heron guild hand Hip mask horns horsemen human idiophones Igala Igbo-Ukwu images important inlaid iron ivory kingdom kingship leopard male mark metal casting motifs mudfish Niger Bronze Industries Niger Delta Nigeria nineteenth century Oba Esigie Oba Ovonramwen oba's head objects Ododua Ogun Olokun Osun photograph pieces Plaque showing Portuguese Queen Mother rattle staffs ritual royal altars royal palace ruler sacrifice salt cellars seen shrines sixteenth century style sword Town Chiefs trade tradition Ugie Oro ukhurhe warrior wears worn Yoruba