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Travel Tip: Art and Archaeology in United States
The Ancient West African City of Benin, A.D. 1300-1897



Male head • Edo peoples, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria • Copper alloy, iron • 22.2 cm (8 3/4 in.) • 82-5-2, purchased with funds provided by  • the Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program • Photo courtesy of Smithsonian National Museum of African Art  • 
Male head
Edo peoples, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria
Copper alloy, iron
22.2 cm (8 3/4 in.)
82-5-2, purchased with funds provided by
the Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program
Photo courtesy of Smithsonian National Museum of African Art
The Ancient West African City of Benin, A.D. 1300-1897
UNITED STATES
WASHINGTON, D.C.  •  Smithsonian National Museum of African Art  •  ongoing
 
This exhibition is a reinstallation of the National Museum of African Art's collection from the royal court of the capital of the kingdom of Benin as it existed before British colonial rule. On display are cast-metal heads, figures, and architectural plaques that depict kings and attendants

Produced between the 16th and 19th centuries, the works reveal the elaborate rituals and regalia of the king and his courtiers, as well as the influences of European traders and missionaries who reached the kingdom beginning in the 15th century.

The exhibition is divided into three sections: focusing on objects directly relating to the oba, or king; works revealing the rituals and regalia of the royal court; and items that stylistically reflect the presence of foreigners, particularly Europeans.

Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art Web Site


Contact: Tel: (1) 202 357 46 00

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