The Benin Empire was a pre-colonial empire located in what is now southern Nigeria. Its capital was Edo, now known as Benin City, Edo. It should not be confused with the modern-day country in West Africa called Benin, formerly called Dahomey. The Benin Empire was “one of the oldest and most highly developed states in the coastal hinterland of West Africa, dating perhaps to the eleventh century CE until it was annexed by the British Empire in 1897. Benin arts are primarily made of cast bronze and carved ivory and are produced mainly for the court of the Oba of Benin – a divine ruler for whom the craftsmen produced a range of ceremonially significant objects. The full complexity of these works can be appreciated only through the awareness and consideration of two complementary cultural perceptions of the art of Benin.
The attached image above is a Benin Plaques usually placed on the walls of the Oba’s palace. The person sitting on the horse is the King himself surrounded by palace courtiers and war chiefs. This plaque is truly a collector’s piece and weighs approximately 80 lbs. It can be mounted on a wall as it already has holes drilled on the plaque or can be placed on the floor against the wall.
Images from http://www.africanart.com
Robert W. Strayer, Ways of the World: A Brief Global History with Sources, Bedford/St. Martin’s: 2012, pp. 695-696