Royal Art of Benin The Perls Collection

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9780300086638: Royal Art of Benin The Perls Collection

For more than 500 years, the artists of the West African kingdom of Benin created objects in brass, ivory, terracotta, and wood for use in divine kingship rituals, to adorn the royal palaces, and to identify the king, chiefs, warriors, and other officials at court. This volume presents a recent gift to The Metropolitan Museum of Art of over 150 works of Benin sculpture, making the Museum's collection of sixteenth- to nineteenth-century Benin art one of the most comprehensive in the world.
Among the objects--many reproduced in full color--are brass heads depicting past kings and queen mothers, free-standing brass figures, exquisite plaques, insignia of office, cast brass and carved ivory bracelets, carved elephant tusks, personal ornaments, musical instruments, court furnishings, and more. Black-and-white and color photographs of related objects and actual ceremonies help place the collection within its cultural and historical context.
An introduction provides background on the history, art, and culture of Benin, and the illustrations are accompanied by expert commentary that summarizes the latest research on Benin art. A special section is devoted to the brass and ivory arts of the nearby Yoruba kingdoms of Owo and Ijebu, which were heavily influenced by Benin.

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From Publishers Weekly:

For more than 500 years, the West African kingdom of Benin has produced brass, ivory, wood and terracotta sculpture prized for its naturalism, beauty and technical sophistication. This sumptuous catalogue of an exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art reproduces mysterious brass heads of monarchs and queen mothers, palace plaques teeming with relief figures, regal roosters atop ancestral altars, carved ivory tusks and pyramid-shaped bells. Ezra, an associate curator of the museum, makes it clear in her informative text that this art is intimately linked to rituals of divine kingship and religion, as can be seen in complex altar tableaux depicting the king surrounded by courtiers, chiefs and attendants, and in cylindrical wood altars dedicated to the human hand, which is worshipped in the Benin religion. The book also surveys the intricate, luminous ivory sculpture of Owo, a nearby Yoruba kingdom from which Benin's reigning dynasty traces its origins.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Benin sculpture--cast bronzes, carved ivory, terracotta, and wood created to glorify a divine king--exerted tremendous influence on early 20th-century Western artists. The splendidly naturalistic heads, plaques, carved tusks, bracelets, and other ceremonial and personal ornaments of Benin (now part of Nigeria) provide an unbroken record of one of West Africa's greatest kingdoms for more than 500 years. This publication coincides with a Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition celebrating art dealer Klaus G. Perls's 163-piece donation. An introduction gives background on Benin history, art, and culture; expert commentary accompanies the 265 illustrations, grouped according to the objects' type and purpose. A chronology, glossary, bibliography, and maps supplement this authoritative work. Recommended for African art and 20th-century art research collections.
- Russell T. Clement, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Kate Ezra
Published by Metropolitan Museum of Art (1992)
ISBN 10: 0300086636 ISBN 13: 9780300086638
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Book Description Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0300086636

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