Benin bronzes controversy. The Benin Bronzes: A Tragic Story of Slavery and Imperialism Cast in Brass 2022-10-29
Benin bronzes controversy
The Benin Bronzes controversy refers to the ongoing debate over the ownership and display of a collection of bronze plaques and sculptures that were created by the Kingdom of Benin in present-day Nigeria in the 16th and 17th centuries. The bronzes, which depict a variety of subjects including kings, warriors, and animals, are considered to be some of the finest examples of African art and are highly valued for their cultural and historical significance.
The controversy surrounding the Benin Bronzes began in 1897, when a group of British soldiers and officials invaded the Kingdom of Benin and looted a significant number of the bronzes, as well as other cultural artifacts, from the royal palace. The bronzes were subsequently taken to Britain and other European countries, where they were sold or given to museums and private collectors.
In the years following the invasion, there have been ongoing calls for the return of the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria. These calls have come from a variety of sources, including the Nigerian government, cultural organizations, and individuals within the Nigerian and African diaspora. Supporters of the return argue that the bronzes were taken from Benin without the consent of the people and that they are an important part of the cultural heritage of Nigeria. They argue that the bronzes should be returned to Benin in order to allow the people of Nigeria to reclaim their cultural identity and to preserve their cultural traditions for future generations.
Opponents of the return of the Benin Bronzes argue that the bronzes are now an integral part of the cultural heritage of the countries in which they are currently located and that they should remain in these countries. They also argue that the bronzes have been well cared for and preserved in their current locations and that returning them to Nigeria could potentially jeopardize their preservation.
The Benin Bronzes controversy is a complex and ongoing issue that raises important questions about the ownership and display of cultural artifacts, the role of museums in preserving and displaying cultural heritage, and the rights of indigenous peoples to reclaim their cultural artifacts. While there are valid arguments on both sides of the debate, it is ultimately up to the people of Nigeria and the countries in which the bronzes are currently located to decide on the best course of action.
What Are the Benin Bronzes, and Why Do They Remain Controversial?
The next five years will be critical for children. For many Nigerians, the Benin Bronzes are a potent reminder of colonialism and its continued effects on African society. As far as what pieces are included in the collection, there are about 900 brass plaques that encompass the biggest known chunk, but there are also sculptures, commemorative heads, figures of humans and animals, royal items, and personal ornaments, according to the During the made land-grab when sea travel became more accessible to all of the major European powers, Africa got shafted pretty horribly, arguably worse than any of the other colonized continents. The raw materials to cast the bronzes necessary often required long-distance trade within the African continent. Retrieved 9 November 2022.
The Benin Bronzes: A Violent History
Sir David and his firm, whose largest project to date is the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC, mean to use archaeology as a means of connecting the new museum into the surrounding landscape. The art historians and museum professionals who participated vigorously posed retorts to that notion, claiming that various forms of danger in the West have historically posed just as much as of a threat to the Benin Bronzes as a perceived lack of climatic control found at Nigerian museums. This also allowed for polychromatic artworks, which were achieved using knife cuts and applications of natural pigments made with vegetable oil or palm oil. The General Approach 1965 Alan Ryder - Benin and the Europeans, 1485-1897 These works explain quite clearly that the vast majority of Benin's trade with Europeans was not centered around the slave-trade at all, and they also explain what I described above earlier - how the kingdom of Benin deliberately reduced the slave trade between Benin and European traders to virtually nothing. Ryder that I referenced earlier in its entirety and you will see that this is definitely not the case.
Controversy Over Possession Of Benin Looted Bronzes
The Academy of Paediatrics declared a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health in 2021 as mental health professionals saw rising rates of mental health problems in youth. This underscores the imperative of returning the looted Benin artefacts to the owners because we find in them, the essence of over being and the concrete validation of our civilization for beyond aesthetics. Photograph of an ancestral shrine at the Royal Palace, Benin City taken during the visit of Cyril Punch in 1891. The Oba was the central figure in all trade, controlling various commodities such as enslaved people, ivory, and pepper. And the unpredictability of everyday life brought stress that seemed almost impossible to bear. Iyase of Benin Kingdom, Lukas Osarobo Zeickner-Okoro. Each of us must ask: What can I do to help a neighbour, work in my community, build awareness, provide another voice, help empower others? The Benin Dialogue Group, of which the British Museum is a member, will work with the museum to help develop this new permanent display of Benin works of art.
The Benin Bronzes, Explained: Why a Group of Plundered Artworks Continues to Generate Controversy (2022)
The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution. In general, only the king could own objects made of bronze and ivory, however, he could allow high-ranking individuals to use such items, such as hanging masks and cuffs made of bronze and ivory. Their exact number is unknown, though it is believed to exceed 3,000. On the plaques, for instance, human figures, either alone, in pairs, or in small groups arranged hierarchically around a central figure, are represented. Because they made their way beyond West Africa as a result of a colonial conquest, the Benin Bronzes have faced calls for their return, both within Nigeria and outside it.
The Benin Bronzes: A Tragic Story of Slavery and Imperialism Cast in Brass
The opposite is the case at the Humboldt Forum, where a board that oversees the Prussian-owned holdings of the Ethnological Museum must ultimately make the call on whether its Benin Bronzes can go home. Are they from Benin? Retrieved 5 October 2021. The museum itself is not therefore authorized to make decisions regarding the return or deaccessioning of objects. That topic how the British empire derived a fortune from the slave trade and used it to fuel its development and expansion has been covered in many works, but three books I can recommend which discuss this topic are: Eric Williams - Capitalism and Slavery Joseph Inikori - Africans and the Industrial Revolution in England: A Study in International Trade and Economic Development Peter Fryer - Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain In particular, note what is stated in chapter 2 of Peter Fryer's book, on pages 14 through 18. Yet these are but two of the many museums around the globe that hold Benin Bronzes. The campaign ended when they reached Benin City.
Benin Bronzes Aren’t Safer in the West Than They Would Be in Nigeria
Amongst the many indignities suffered by the Edo people, thousands of the Benin Bronzes were looted from the palace as spoils of war. Retrieved 26 July 2010. The Benin Bronzes are a group of thousands of objects that were taken from the kingdom of Benin, in what is now Nigeria, in 1897. Coral neck rings were a symbol of nobility and use was granted specifically by the Oba. How were the Benin Bronzes plundered? In the run-up to the festival, Nigerians began clamoring for the return of the British Museum mask, and when that became impossible, a committee began seeking a loan. When the European powers were coming to Africa, slavery had already largely been abolished, but the effects left a lot of African tribes in a state of disarray.
Benin Bronze Debate. Frequently Asked Questions (7 answers)
This tug of war, per In 1897, the British sent a "trade" convoy to Benin City, though it was clearly meant to provoke an attack. It is believed that two "golden ages" in Benin metal workmanship occurred during the reigns of Esigie fl. The commemorative heads of the king or the queen mother were not individual portraits, although they show a stylized naturalism. That institution, the Edo Museum of West African Art, is being designed by architect David Adjaye and is currently set to open in 2025. This statement generated controversy between the federal government.
University of Aberdeen to return pillaged Benin bronze to Nigeria
Retrieved 10 November 2022. Some were placed on loan to the A 16th-century Edo ivory mask held by the British Museum. The Edo Museum will reunite Benin artworks from international collections. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Do some more reading first and gain some basic familiarity with the topics you wish you comment on first.
The Benin Bronzes, Explained: Why a Group of Plundered Artworks Continues to Generate Controversy
It seems to be telling us that, while important, it is not the resilience of nature or the human intellect alone that matter, but also our spirit and belief in the possibilities and the power to take action. It is not surprising that some of the sources that you cite for your "references" are British. Contrary to the name, not all of the works are made of bronze. Retrieved 25 March 2021. Sixteen pieces are confirmed to have been raided in 1897 and 23 further artifacts that have an unclear provenance. The facts tell a sobering story about the impact of the pandemic on children. Until an agreement or compromise can be made between the Oba and the Nigerian government, the Benin Bronzes will continue to be stored in their respective museums and wait to return home.