Who made the benin bronzes?

Last Update: April 20, 2022

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Asked by: Daisy Bogisich
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They were created from at least the 16th century onwards in the West African Kingdom of Benin, by specialist guilds working for the royal court of the Oba (king) in Benin City.

Why were the Benin Bronzes made?

As a courtly art, their principal objective was to glorify the Oba—the divine king—and the history of his imperial power or to honour the Iyoba of Benin (the queen mother). Art in the Kingdom of Benin took many forms, of which bronze and brass reliefs and the heads of kings and queen mothers are the best known.

Who stole the Benin Bronzes?

British troops looted thousands of artworks known as the Benin Bronzes from the Kingdom of Benin, in present-day Nigeria, in 1897. Following auctions, some of the bronzes ended up in museums and private collections across Europe.

Where were the Benin Bronzes made?

The works known as the Benin Bronzes were made over 600 years in the Kingdom of Benin – now in modern-day Nigeria. Although frequently discussed as a group, their production would have depended on many unknown artists, and a highly complex making process.

Why won't the British Museum return the Benin Bronzes?

Neil Curtis, head of museums and special collections at the University of Aberdeen, said the decision was driven by ethical concerns over the item which – like most of the bronzes – originated from a punitive military campaign in 1897 when British forces sacked the city of Benin in south-east Nigeria, looting thousands ...

Art, Loot and Empire: The Benin Bronzes

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How many Benin bronzes were stolen?

The Benin Bronzes are a collection of more than 3,000 figures and other decorative pieces looted by the British in 1897.

Are the Benin bronzes still in the British Museum?

Which museums hold Benin Bronzes? Institutions on several continents hold objects from the Benin Bronzes group, many of which are considered highly valuable. The British Museum has the most Benin Bronzes of any institution worldwide, with 900 objects from the group in its holdings.

How many artifacts were stolen from Benin?

National Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C. Number of Benin Bronzes: 43 objects. Sixteen pieces are confirmed to have been raided in 1897 and 23 further artifacts that have an unclear provenance.

Who looted Benin?

In 1897, Britain sent a punitive expedition to the Kingdom of Benin, in what is today Nigeria, in retaliation for the killing of seven British officials and traders. British soldiers and sailors captured Benin, exiled its king and annexed the territory. They also made off with some of Africa's greatest works of art.

What is Benin famous for?

Benin City has long been famous for its “bronzes”—actually brass work, some of which is said to date from the 13th century—and for its ivory and wood carvings. Its museum (1960) has a notable collection of some of the kingdom's early pieces.

When were the Benin bronzes stolen?

The real significance of this case, however, is what it reveals about the pressure Western museums are feeling because of Benin Bronzes in their collections. These treasures – metal castings and ivory carvings – were looted from the West African kingdom of Benin (in modern-day Nigeria) by the British in 1897.

What happened to the Great Wall of Benin?

The Walls of Benin were destroyed by the British in 1897 during the named Punitive expedition. Disjointed pieces of the wall remain in Edo, with a large proportion on them being used by the residents for construction purposes. The little that remains of the wall is continually demolished for real estate developments.

Will the British Museum ever return the stolen artifacts?

Decontextualizing art

However, others, like the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum, claim they cannot return historical artifacts, either because of the Museums Act or because keeping the objects in the UK would be in the interest of the global community.

Who introduced museums to Nigeria?

The origin of cultural resource development and control, which was regarded as the National Museum Services in Nigeria, dated back to 1927 was credited to Kenneth C. Murray, a British colonial art teacher. Murray established the first National Museum for conservation of Nigerian artefacts in Jos in 1943.

What has Britain stolen from other countries?

8 Valuable Items The British Empire Has Stolen From All Over The World Through The Years
  • Koh-i-Noor. This obviously comes first because of our personal investment in it. ...
  • Elgin Marbles. ...
  • Ethiopian Manuscripts. ...
  • Benin Bronzes. ...
  • Seeds Of Hevea Brasiliensis. ...
  • Rosetta Stone. ...
  • The Ring Of Tipu Sultan. ...
  • The Wine Cup Of Shah Jahan.

Has Benin bronzes been returned?

The museum, which has some 160 items from Benin City, becomes the latest institution to announce the restitution of some of the priceless artifacts. The plaques were housed in the British Museum and then the National Museum in Lagos. ...

Will the Benin Bronzes be returned?

Germany Will Repatriate Benin Bronzes, Plundered From Africa In The 19th Century. Benin Bronze artifacts on display in the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, Germany. ... German officials say they have reached an agreement with Nigeria to return a share of plundered artifacts known as Benin Bronzes.

Which tribe is richest in Nigeria?

The Igbos, Yorubas and the Hausas are the richest tribes in Nigeria. Due to the fact that a lot of them are very interested in formal education, they occupy a lot of top positions in Blue Chip companies across the country.

What is the Queen Mother of Benin called?

THE QUEEN MOTHER, or “Iyoba,” was a powerful figure in the Edo kingdom of Benin, which ruled parts of the West African coast for seven centuries. This statue of the Benin Queen Mother named Idia was cast in bronze using the lost wax process, PM object AF5102.

Which is the oldest kingdom in Nigeria?

The Nri Kingdom in the Awka area was founded in about 900 AD in north central Igboland, and is considered the oldest kingdom in Nigeria.

Is Benin a country?

Benin, officially Republic of Benin, French République du Bénin, formerly (until 1975) Dahomey or (1975–90) People's Republic of Benin, country of western Africa. ... Benin is bordered to the northwest by Burkina Faso, to the east by Nigeria, and to the west by Togo.

Do museums steal artifacts?

Museums around the world contain pieces that were stolen or taken by force during colonial rule. ... Today, many museums around the world contain art and artifacts that were stolen from their countries of origin during colonial rule or looted during war.

Is everything stolen in British Museum?

The British Museum is among 160 institutions worldwide to hold some of the 10,000 items stolen from Benin, which was annexed by the British Empire into what is now southern Nigeria, after a violent invasion by an expeditionary force of 1,200 personnel.