The Benin Plaques : A 16th Century Imperial Monument book cover
1st Edition

The Benin Plaques
A 16th Century Imperial Monument

ISBN 9781472451552
Published December 21, 2017 by Routledge
276 Pages 179 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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

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

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