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. Moreover, German ethnologists and archaeologists had been very active in Africa, the most famous being Leo Frobenius who collected several thousands of artefacts from the Continent and made a contribution to the Africa collection of the Berlin Ethnologisches Museum. He considered forced labour and corporal punishment in the German colonies as necessary and fair. This incident developed following complaints by the inhabitants of Ife, the sacred capital of the Yoruba country in southern Nigeria that Frobenius had mistreated and deceived them, and had taken away religious objects without their consent. It is quite clear that the structural violence of the colonial situation and the frequent actual use of force by German colonial administrators and the German settlers made Africans amenable to parting with the objects the Europeans wanted. Some individual contemporaries were perfectly aware of this fact.

Benin Bronzes

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.

Date: 16th century. Geography: Nigeria, Court of Benin. Culture: Edo peoples. Medium: Brass. Dimensions: H. 9 1/4 x W. 8 5.

A famous social scientist once said, “In science as in love, an overemphasis on technique very likely leads to impotence. Take dating techniques in Benin art. I single out TL thermoluminescence because it is a method art historians are most familiar with, if only in that reflexive way of babies startled by a sudden loud noise. Developed in the s and s, TL dating is used to confirm the stratigraphic dating of in situ pottery and terracotta works.

It is also routinely used by museums and galleries to verify a plus-or-minus dating of authentic ceramics. Bronze sculptures with clay-core remnants have also been dated in this way, including the so-called bronze art of the kingdom of Benin in Nigeria.

An attempt to date an antique Benin bronze using neutron resonance capture analysis.

British Broadcasting Corporation Home. This head probably depicts an Ooni, a ruler of the West African kingdom of Ife that flourished between AD and The portrait-like realism of Ife heads is unique in African art. This naturalism astonished art historians when the first Ife heads were brought to Europe in One German explorer even proposed they were made by Greek settlers in Africa – the origins of Plato’s Atlantis myth. Eighteen heads have been found in total, and their stylistic similarities suggest that they were made by an individual artist or in a single workshop.

Abstract: Neutron resonance capture analysis was applied to a bronze commemorative plaque from the West-African country Benin. By comparison with recently.

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. You can leave an absentee bid on our website. The amount you bid should be your maximum bid. We will bid up to that limit for you, and remember you may end up paying less than your limit, depending on other bidding on the day.

Bid live online for free Many clients prefer bidding live online at our auctions. There will be no additional live bidding fees applied for this service unlike many other providers. By telephone If you would like to bid by telephone please contact our team prior to the auction with your details of the lots you are interested in and your full name, mailing address, telephone number s and email.

Once our team have processed your bid request you will receive an email confirmation. Please note that all absentee and telephone bid requests must be received by close of business the day before the auction. The Auctioneer carries on business with bidders, Buyers and all those present in the auction room prior to, or in connection with, a sale on the following General Conditions and on such other terms, conditions and notices as may be referred to herein.

This Art Was Looted 123 Years Ago. Will It Ever Be Returned?

Bronze Benin. Charles Gabriel Seligman, Oxford, U. Seligman, London, —; Nelson A. Benin ivory armband depicting Olokun.

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

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. By August , most of the ivory and bronze artworks seized by the British from the royal treasury had been sold in large public auctions.

These bronzes stand even at the summit of what can be technically achieved. The Obas of Benin have been asking for their return for decades. Casting in bronze — or more accurately, brass, bronze, and sometimes copper — began in Benin before the 13th century, and large-scale artworks were first commissioned under Oba Ewuare I r. Commemorative heads made for royal altars date back to the 16th century, if not earlier.

Artists also cast sculptures of messengers, vanquished enemies, and foreign allies to celebrate the lives of departed kings through altar tableaux. Head of an Oba — , Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria.

British Museum to return Benin bronzes to Nigeria

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.

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER Plaques that form part of the Benin Bronzes are displayed at The British Museum on November

Benin history cannot be separated from its artworks, especially its bronzes. In other words, in discussing Benin history, the argument of R. Bradbury that the history of Benin art is itself an important aspect of Benin history cannot be overemphasized, and it is of further significance in that bronzes, ivories, and wood carvings often purport to depict historical personages and events.

Therefore, bronzes and ivories are useful as historical documents. Benin art signifies a process of the production of historical knowledge of the past as it helps to uncover the alternative versions of oral tradition. The bronzes in particular contain much potentially valuable information about Benin society, culture, and history over a long period. The bronzes belonged to the Oba divine king of Benin, and they were meant to record the history of Benin society, and particularly the royal history.

You do not currently have access to this article. Please login to access the full content.

Is It Time to Repatriate Africa’s Looted Art?

Gareth Harris. A bronze plaque made in the former Kingdom of Benin, which failed to sell at an auction in Paris yesterday, has reignited the debate over the market for cultural property removed from colonised Africa. Prior to the Paris sale, academics raised concerns about the Benin piece.

For a long time the Benin bronze sculptures were the only historical evidence dating back several centuries into the West African past, and both the level of.

World Cultures 2 min read. One of the highlights of our World Cultures African collections comes from the kingdom of Benin in Nigeria. This sophisticated bronze sculpture commemorates the sacred person of an Oba or King. Museum reference A. Did you know? Our World Cultures collection includes over 80 objects from Benin. The Kingdom of Benin flourished from the 13th to 19th centuries in southwest Nigeria.

Benin culture has long been the focus of attention in the Western world because of the remarkably sophisticated lost-wax bronze castings made by specialist craftsmen for the royal house, which played a variety of functions in court life and ritual.

Benin head of a king

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.

The Bronzes are a collection of over a thousand metal plaques commissioned by the Oba, or absolute ruler, of the Kingdom of Benin, to decorate his Royal Palace, in what is now southern Nigeria. They were archival in nature, establishing a record of events at the time and commemorating royal life, ancestry and trade.

Neutron resonance capture analysis was applied to a bronze commemorative plaque from the West-African country Benin. By comparison with recently.

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. For a long time the Benin bronze sculptures were the only historical evidence dating back several centuries into the West African past, and both the level of technical accomplishment attained in bronze casting, as well as the monumental vigor of the figures represented, were the object of great admiration.

Benin bronzes are better known than the artworks from Ife or Owo due to their presence in Western museums since s. Each clan was subject to the oba king. The Benin oba employed a guild of artisans who all lived in the same district of the city.

What are the Benin Bronzes? – The arts past and present (6/6)