Comments may be edited or removed if they do not meet these guidelines. Most of the plaques portray static figures either alone, in pairs, or in small groups arranged hierarchically around a central figure. The French government has responded to the report by announcing an will be returned to the state of Benin, with further restitution to follow. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph at his home in Benin City in southern Nigeria, Prince Akenzua, 82, disclosed that he had now written to the Jesus College students' union to express his support for repatriation. The works taken by the British were a treasure trove of bronze and ivory sculptures, including king heads, queen mother heads, leopard figurines, bells, and a great number of images sculpted in , all of which were executed with a mastery of lost-wax casting.
This is almost like suggesting that if a European sculptor had made a pair of figures of saints, one could be regarded as surplus. These show that the king is also master of the tropical forest which covered most of Benin until recent times. Another important symbol on plaques are leopards. In Nigeria, however, there are signs that a loan may now be accepted. The royal palace, with its magnificent collection of bronzes, located in present-day Nigeria, was plundered. The objects were seized by British troops in Africa in similar circumstances in the late 19th century.
Be as critical or controversial as you like, but please don't get personal or offensive. African Art: An Introduction Reprint. But unfortunately there are very few pairs left. According to popular belief, a person's head was the receptacle of the supernatural guide for rational behavior. The remarkable quality of the work was rapidly reflected in high auction room prices. Financially, it was advantageous for the museum, since the two plaques were then valued at £4,000-5,000 and the horseman at £8,000-10,000. Although there have been attempts to link some of the depictions with historical figures, these identifications have been speculative and unverified.
He retained control over the major export resources ivory, slaves, gum and palm kernels and over trade between the kingdom and Europeans. The group comprises nine European museums, based in London, Cambridge, Oxford, Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Vienna and Stockholm, along with a consortium of four Dutch ethnographic museums. Benin Bronzes Looted by the British Returned to Nigeria. The selloffs and exchanges are now regarded as very unfortunate by museum staff. Nigerian governments have sought their return since the country gained independence in 1960. The Return of Cultural Treasures.
Under the 1963 British Museum Act, the legal constraints on de-accessioning were tightened. This also allowed for polychromatic artworks, which were achieved using knife cuts and applications of natural pigments made with vegetable oil or palm oil. The Republic of Benin lies to the west of Nigeria. In addition, during that period, Benin was trading in other products to a great deal as well - particularly pepper and ivory - and after those few decades of early trade with the Portuguese, all its trade with Europeans afterwards was heavily dominated by other products and never by the trade in slaves which was always either non-existent or on a very small scale. Even if the 1950s de-accessioning was appropriate for its time, further questions remain about the 1972 swap with Lehman. Most went to Nigeria and were bought for under £100, although fine examples currently fetch up to £100,000. Benin City produced arguably the finest art of sub-Saharan Africa, particularly bronze heads and plaques, traditionally called bronzes but made of brass.
It also comes as a surprise that two Benin plaques were disposed of as late as 1972. The objects were seized by the London police in 2003 from a dealer who could not provide proof of ownership and who is no longer in business. New York: Thames and Hudson. An Okpoho variety of Manilla from the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria. Before they set out, James Philips, the colonial officer who headed the mission, sent a report to his superiors in Whitehall complaining about the unprofitability of trade in the area.
The museum the second largest collection of art from the Benin kingdom after the Ethnological Museum in Berlin. Artists working in bronze were organized into a type of under royal decree and lived in a special area of the palace under the direct control of the Oba. As a prerequisite for royal succession, each new Oba had to install an altar in honor of his predecessor. Many of the estimated 90,000 artifacts of sub-Saharan African origin held at French institutions could be contested under the report's criteria. Benin City, whose civilisation dates further back than the 13th Century, was almost completely destroyed.
The Benin Bronzes led to a greater appreciation in Europe of and. The premier collection of these priceless Benin art treasures are today held at the Museum of Mankind there are also many, many more, held in private collections which we do not know about. A great number of people played their own parts in the ritual pageantry, as chiefs and officials, craft guilds or representatives of local communities. Grassroots campaign groups within European countries are demanding restitution, such as in Germany, where 40 organizations recently calling for the return of historical artifacts. The molten metal is poured into the mold. · Leave a Comment We want to hear your views.