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Art Of Benin City

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Art Of Benin City
Read carefully Reading 2.6, ‘Works of Art from Benin City’, in Book 3 Chapter 2 and look closely at Plate 3.2.27, Plate showing four sixteenth century brass plaques from Benin’, in the illustration book. With close attention to both, discuss reasons why the ownership and location of the art of Benin have been controversial and continue to be so.

The Places which home the artwork of Benin have and continue to cause controversy. They did not always as they did in the late nineteenth century languish in cramped displays set up by museums around the world, or in sitting rooms of private collectors but were originally preserved in Benin’s royal place, Benin City. The debate over who should own them is also controversial. They never used
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Certain views, like that of Blythe, a nineteenth century African writer and supporter of African rights challenged the common perceptions of the era but they did not change them. Blythe talks about scientific Europeans ‘giving academic study to the Negro’ but his overall suggestion is that there is a general ‘opinion of some God is everywhere except in Africa.’ (Blythe 1903 in Brown, 2008) Read and Dalton They described both their perception of Benin society and the objects they were studying in a very ambivalent way at the first sight of these remarkable works of art were at once astounded….and puzzled to account for so highly developed an art amongst a race so entirely barbarous as the Bini’ (Read and Dalton 1897 in Brown, 2008).This negative and perception of Benin was a common perception of the whole of Africa at this time . Anthropologists in general struggled to fit explanations of such sophisticated works of art into these commoner held opinions which circulated throughout all major establishments of newspapers, museums and Encyclopaedias. This meant that stereotypical notions were gaining credibility over real facts. Read and Dalton were unfazed and presented their historical version as a prejudiced one, shaped by the society in which they lived, hence they form the conclusion that ‘no hope that a …show more content…
There is a feeling that proper sense of African history awaits a new generation which is to say, shifting away from primitivism. Stereotypical accounts of savagery are less likely to be foremost in minds of institutions and it is hoped that vivid sense of the true culture behind the making the artwork prevails. How the society lived is now sourced from research to Benin itself as in the Horniman museum in London. Its research gives oral and visual evidence a role in reflecting the plaques from Benin and properly interpreting them. In 1897 Steve and Dalton had very little true insight into what they were looking at. Statements like ‘A God, or king considered a God’ (Read and Dalton 1897 in Brown, 2008) is juxtaposed with more detailed descriptions of soldiers interacting with the Oba in the descriptive description on Plaques in the Horniman museum. How the society lived is now sourced from research to Benin itself and it uses oral and visual evidence to its role in reflecting the plaques and properly interpreting them. Reinterpretation of the art was possible due to accurate research which Steve and Dalton believed impossible due to their affinity with the accepted norms of conventional thought. Present day exhibitions now run the risk of over aestheticizing the Benin sculptures. Many feel it is a risk worth taking, if by aestheticizing it you can win the

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