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Heritage Buildings, Treasures & Monuments



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Old January 12th, 2011, 01:16 AM   #1
Sokotocaliphate
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BENIN EMPIRE

The ancient Benin Empire has always been one of my personal favourites and fascinated me a lot. I am an art fanatic so when I first discovered that this sophisticated society began creating such intricate art work even before the realism period of the Europeans I began to marvel the more. The art work of the Binis is highly ranked in the art world today despite it's obvious THEFT!

Each bronze conveys the themes of their animist beliefs i.e. the leopards, fishes and snakes so despite the overzealous pentecoastal Nigerian christians ignorantly labelling these treasures as 'juju' these were one of the works that challenged the way Europeans thought of Africans.
At first inspection of these works they were amazed and even had the audacity to claim the African people did not or could not create such work expecially at a time before they even knew the word 'realism' and 'casting'.

The original name of the Empire was Ubinu but as they started to aquire fame and became prominent they were later tagged as Benin by the Portugese.
They were noted as shrewd buisness men where their clients will have to do buisness their way or no way - no compromising. Even when these great artist and warriors were alive there were still rogues eyeing their artwork and as a consequence there were people from neighbouring Africans to the Europeans who were caught and found stealing their work. Therefore anybody that was caught had to return the artwork immediately lest they would seize to conduct buisness with them again.

The Bini people are also fascinating, they gave the colonials a hard time. Read about the British punitive expedition - they may not hail from a major ethnic group in Nigeria but the British definately know who they are, well they know their ancestors at least.

Their art work today is celebrated around the art sphere with many major western countries 'owning' their work ranging from the hundreds to the thousands - their work was 'sold' by the British so thus they have been transported around the globe. America, Italy, France, Britain and many more are 'holders' and 'collectors' of these treasures. The Benin art has been the highest valued African art even at an auction many many years ago the art sold for over a million to the astonishment of the crowd and the 'owner' as these were the first African art to rake in such a profit. The Benin Bronzes are also linked to another great treasure in the art world created by the Yorubas - Ile Ife. It is said that there was much trade between the two and that the Binis mastered the trade from the Yorubas. Despite generating billions and billions none of the money has ever made its way back to the real owners - well to be honest they actual inheritance was meant to be the bronzes not dollars.

The Binis have unsuccessfully campaigned to reclaim their inheritance but so far to no avail. The current Oba of Benin has said himself that in the absence of photographic technology at the time these art 'serves as chapters in our history book' hence they were not made to be exhibited.

Each bronze casting illustrates a well clad warrior, leopards, or the monarchs themselves. Even though Benin was eventually conquered and the victors have their tale even them the British accord great respect to this sophisticated and highly advanced society. Today in Benin state of Nigeria the people still produce the bronzes albeit despite technological advances in the world they have never been able to produce the same quality of work.

In Benin city today - one of the most traditional cities in Nigeria there is a great statue casted in bronze of a single Benin warrior triumphing over three British soldiers - in history it is the victor that writes the tale but within that defiant art piece the artist at the very least wrote one chapter.

Last edited by Sokotocaliphate; October 10th, 2011 at 01:11 AM.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 01:18 AM   #2
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Map of Benin


Flag of the Benin Empire
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Old January 12th, 2011, 01:21 AM   #3
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Old January 12th, 2011, 01:24 AM   #4
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The Queen Idia mask, which was the symbol of the second festival of arts and culture (FESTAC) hosted by Nigeria in 1977

Thus today it is known as the FESTAC Mask

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Last edited by Sokotocaliphate; January 12th, 2011 at 07:28 PM.
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Old January 12th, 2011, 01:32 AM   #5
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Old January 12th, 2011, 01:33 AM   #6
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Old January 12th, 2011, 03:52 AM   #7
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Obas (Kings) of Benin











Benin female royalty

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Old January 12th, 2011, 03:58 AM   #8
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Obas of Benin - with brass depiction included











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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:02 AM   #9
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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:05 AM   #10
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Brass depiction of the Obas

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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:08 AM   #11
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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:09 AM   #12
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Nice pictures, always wanted to find out stuff about the ancient artifacts since I'm
Bini
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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:12 AM   #13
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This is how the pieces are displayed in gallery format



Black-Monstro then you are of good stock
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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:17 AM   #14
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Gallery format

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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:19 AM   #15
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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:19 AM   #16
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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:25 AM   #17
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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:32 AM   #18
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Leopard bronzes



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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:35 AM   #19
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Bronze rooster

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Old January 12th, 2011, 04:37 AM   #20
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