Benin: Royal Arts of a West African Kingdom
In the late 15th century, the Kingdom of Benin (located in present-day southwestern Nigeria) established a mercantile relationship with Portugal, significantly increasing its wealth and might. Benin became a regional powerhouse and, under a long lineage of divine rulers, or obas, it wielded great economic and political influence. The obas supported guilds of artists, chief...more
Paperback, 36 pages
Published August 21st 2008 by Art Institute of Chicago
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I'm going to a preview of Benin art at the British Museum on Sunday, so I'll read up on it. I saw African art in Bremen Anthropology Museum ages ago and it blew me away. All those totems and masks hanging high in the air like some eruption of the subconscious, symbols for things behind all of our scenes not just tribal Africans. In many ways I think primitive art surpasses Western art, and that stuff in Bremen certainly spoke to me in a raw way that Renaissance artists don't touch. I can appreci...more