1st Edition

The Benin Plaques A 16th Century Imperial Monument

By Kathryn Wysocki Gunsch Copyright 2018
    246 Pages 179 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    276 Pages 179 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The 16th century bronze plaques from the kingdom of Benin are among the most recognized masterpieces of African art, and yet many details of their commission and installation in the palace in Benin City, Nigeria, are little understood. The Benin Plaques, A 16th Century Imperial Monument is a detailed analysis of a corpus of nearly 850 bronze plaques that were installed in the court of the Benin kingdom at the moment of its greatest political power and geographic reach. By examining European accounts, Benin oral histories, and the physical evidence of the extant plaques, Gunsch is the first to propose an installation pattern for the series.

    Table of Contents
    List of Tables and Figures
    Chapter One: Introduction
    Chapter Two: A Short History of Benin Art and Politics
    Chapter Three: Threat and Creativity: The Political Context for Esigie’s Commission
    Chapter Four: Remembrance and Memorial: Methods of Commemoration in Benin
    Chapter Five: Patterns of Authorship and the Architectural Frame
    Chapter Six: The Installation of the Plaque Corpus under Esigie and Orhogbua
    Annex 1: Plaques by Flange-Pattern Category
    Annex 2: Illustration of Flange Pattern Sub-Types
    Annex 3: Views of Palace Reconstruction
    Annex 4: List of Plaques by Institution


    Kathryn Wysocki Gunsch is Department Head and Teel Curator for the Arts of Africa and Oceania at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.