How a Global Debate Over Who Owns African Art Is Playing Out in Nigeria

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

Remarkable Historical Figures of Ancient Benin Kingdom

Please refresh the page and retry. N igeria could accept the temporary loan of a collection of exquisite bronze sculptures rather than their permanent return by European institutions, including the British Museum, officials have said. The Benin Bronzes are a collection of intricately-worked sculptures and plaques in bronze, ivory, ceramic and wood that decorated the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin, which was subsequently incorporated into British-ruled Nigeria.

Benin was one of the most powerful kingdoms in West Africa, flourishing in the Middle Ages before it was weakened by succession struggles and civil wars. The Benin Bronzes were plundered from the kingdom by British forces in during a punitive expedition. In other cases it could be a return of works,” he said.

Benin bronze plaque estimated to date back to the 16th century. (Commons/​Michel Wal). Returning the artworks hasn’t won unanimous support in.

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. They also reflected the prosperity of the Kingdom of Benin, a sprawling empire in West Africa with territory that is said to have reached present-day Togo and Ghana.

Steered by a succession of Obas, it flourished thanks to a thriving trade in palm oil, silver, ivory, rubber and other commodities; it was also heavily involved in the slave trade. The Kingdom of Benin was doing business with the rest of the world, predominantly Portugal, long before colonial incursions into the African continent.

Benin Bronzes

More than a century after they were looted, the decades-old campaign for European museums to return African art—particularly Benin bronzes—is finally looking like a real possibility. The collection is planned to be on display at a royal museum under construction and scheduled to open in in Benin City, the capital of Edo state. A return of these artworks to Benin City—where they plundered from during a British expedition in —is significant.

Those beliefs have somewhat hamstrung a local industry that has kept the culture of bronzes alive. While the possible return of the artworks is celebrated, the terms of their return continue to be debated.

The Benin Bronzes, some of Africa’s greatest treasures, were looted in The most famous items are brass plaques, dating mainly from the.

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. More than 4, bronze and ivory artefacts were seized by the British army from what is now southern Nigeria as part of a punitive expedition in These two comparable examples, from the St Petersburg and Berlin Museums, are both well documented as looted from the Royal Court in the sacking of Benin City in February Are ChristiesInc willing and able to confirm this as the provenance for this Wolff-Knize plaque too?

Provenance details outlined in the sale catalogue show that the work came from the collection of Vienna-born Frederick Wolff-Knize The plaque was loaned to the Weltmuseum in Vienna and was later acquired by the Chicago collectors James and Marilynn Alsdorf around In a op-ed article in the New York Times, I wrote about widespread looting of art from Eastern Nigeria during the Biafran War , and that my mother still mourns the overnight disappearance of countless alusi sacred sculptures from communal shrines in my hometown, Umuoji, in Anambra State.

These art raids from all indications were sponsored by dealers and their client collectors mostly based in Europe and the US. It turns out that later this month the venerable Christie’s will auction two of these impressive alusi seen here said to have been acquired in in situ by Jacques Kerchache That is, Mr. Kerchache acquired these sculptures in the Nri-Awka area a half-hour drive from my hometown during the darkest years of the Biafran War.

Nigeria could borrow back its plundered Benin Bronzes: governor

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.

Ijagun Date. Keywords: Keywords: Education, Benin, Bronze Casting, Development, Globalization., Sculptor and African. Art Historian. Local Identifier.

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.

Bringing home the Benin Bronzes: Nigeria open to loans rather than a permanent return

London CNN More than a century after British soldiers looted a collection of priceless artifacts from the Kingdom of Benin, some of the Benin bronzes are heading back to Nigeria – with strings attached. See more stories from Inside Africa and share your thoughts with us on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds.

A deal was struck last month by the Benin Dialogue Group BDG that would see “some of the most iconic pieces” in the historic collection returned on a temporary basis to form an exhibition at the new Benin Royal Museum in Edo State within three years. More than 1, of the bronzes are held at museums across Europe, with the most valuable collection at the British Museum in London.

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.

The Benin Bronzes are a group of more than a thousand metal plaques and sculptures that decorated the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin in what is now modern-day Nigeria. In most of the plaques and other objects were looted by British forces during a punitive expedition to the area as imperial control was being consolidated in Southern Nigeria.

The Benin Bronzes led to a greater appreciation in Europe of African culture and art. Initially, it appeared incredible to the discoverers that people “supposedly so primitive and savage” were responsible for such highly developed objects. Many of these dramatic sculptures date to the thirteenth century, centuries before contact with Portuguese traders, and a large part of the collection dates to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

It is believed that two “golden ages” in Benin metal workmanship occurred during the reigns of Esigie fl. While the collection is known as the Benin Bronzes, like most West African ” bronzes ” the pieces are mostly made of brass of variable composition.

Benin Plaque: Equestrian Oba and Attendants

British Broadcasting Corporation Home. The figure at the centre of this brass plaque is the oba – the king of Benin in Nigeria. In the background on either side of the oba are two tiny figures, identified as Portuguese traders, characterised by their long hair and European-style hats.

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

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. Dunstone recalled recently. The man reached out his arm across the water and handed Mr.

Crown Fraud: Stolen Benin Bronzes & British Museum