African Benin Small Bronze Aegis Plaque of Oba Nigeria


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The kingdom of Benin dominated trade with Europeans on the Nigerian coast from the late 1400s to the end of the 1900s. When Portuguese traders arrived in Benin in the 1400s they brought brass bracelets, known as manillas, to exchange for pepper, ivory and slaves. The artists of Benin transformed this European brass into plaques to decorate the oba’s palace. When these plaques were first seen in Europe in the late 1890s they astounded art critics who couldn’t believe that such technically accomplished sculptures were created by African artists.

Height: 7 1/2″

Width: 5 1/2″

Depth: 1 1/4″

Weight 2 lbs


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