Dating ancient brass
They show the oba in full regalia along with his nobility, warriors and Portuguese traders.The most elaborate ones display a procession of up to nine people, while others depict only fish or birds.
Subsequent research has tended to stress the indigenous origins of West African metallurgy. Their status was marked by the establishment of the term Benin bronzes, despite their being largely of brass.
The technological sophistication and overwhelming naturalism of these pieces contradicted many 19-century Western assumptions about Africa in general and Benin regarded as the home of fetish and human sacrifice in particular.
Explanations were swiftly generated to cover the epistemological embarrassment.
The numerous commemorative brass heads, free-standing figures and groups, plaques in relief, bells and rattle-staffs, small expressive masks and plaquettes worn on the belt as emblem of offices; chests in the shape of palaces, animals, cult stands, jewelry, etc.
cast by Benin metalworkers were created for the royal palace.