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Benin 10-5-11guilds are workshops, artisan community live close to royals, high status artisansancestral alter, alter semi circle made of clay-cast brass heads all along the alter-alters dedicated to past obas of Benin-brass cast heads -responsibility of new king to build alter to commemorate his father-brass heads, carved ivory tusks are inserted into heads (contain historical narrative), rattles and bells alert ancestral spirits charged spiritual space!Male headBrass with iron inlaynot portrait of king!parallel iron bars on eyebrow (three for men) and (four for women or foreigners)symbolic of kings power of war, thought to be a captured person (has four earliest style type, early form relies on more naturalist form, overtime the beaded collar just comes around the neck, thin walled, smaller, Commemorative head of an Oba brassbeaded regalia and crownno marks on the eyes, crown covers the browsshift in objects appearance later works....beaded regalia comes all the way up to the lipmove from an idealized naturalism to a much more abstract form-Commemorative head of an Obabrasslast head stylemuch heavier, largercollar with round bases often with symbolic animalscoral bead regaliahorn forms on either side of the crownthree marks above brow (indicating male)abstraction- less focus on portraiture, more on power and majesty of the kingqueen mothers had very high statusheads show similar shifts in styleIyoba (queen mother)symbolic and historical place in hierarchysupernatural powers refined political skill, went to war with son, (Idia)women with a lot of power queen mother could offer protection, did negotiation for the king between palace and town chiefs,never had contact with Oba her son once he takes power, communicate only through messengercommemorative head of queen motherchicken beak hairstylefour marks on brow indicate genderheavier new stylecommemorative head of queen motherhad some coral bead regaliabeads came form mediterranean considered a luxury traded for salt, ivory, slavesarrow like form of the noseno space to put tusk in these heads (unlike Oba)two kinds of objects1. alter of the hand (Ikegobo) more of an individual (other alter represents more of a legacy)alter to be placed on an alterexceptional individualshand is associated with productivity and actionhand is the source of wealth status and successyou could commission these in wood, terracotta, brass (if you were a man)semicircularcarved or cast in high relief3 elements (top scene, middle scene, bottom images)top has oba in center of two people, two attendants on either side, and leopardsin middle- another image of Oba as a warrior king holds stone axe and staffbottom- two fists with hand facing outwards, and leopard, and ram (kingly power)king is powerful leader Plaque of an Oba and two EuropeansBrassportuguese wanted to convert africans western weapons, and coral tradedOba at center he is seated on throne (biggest figure on plaque)holds axe in hand (can give punishment)quatrefoil on backgroundsmall figures of Portuguese in background, different depicted with long hair and helmetwhite people associated with oceanPlaque with Portuguese soliderlong hair, helmet, long beardstaff in one hand, sword in the othereuro clothing, skirt, with stocking on legs cross hatching pattern, narrating history on the walls of the palace (holes on plaques)Portuguese commissioned carved ivory mainly, not brass! brass only for king!!!!!!!-images produced are different, like the Portuguese asked for it to be a certain way-cross depicted-do not incorporate traditional Benin imagery (simply for a market)Hip pendent of Queen Mother Idiaivorycommissioned by Obahas standard images of brass headsiron inlays on unibrowfour marks above the brow idealized representation naturaltop of her crown are little images of portuguese men! status object incorporated port. menprestige item, worn by kingimage of the queen mother context very well knownrepresentation of head is central special role in the head, directs body and success in life1. mat. itself gives the suggestion of permanence and protection2. not portraits of particular kings, unlike Ife, generalize portrayals that emphasize kingship3. shiny surface was thought to distance evil forces4. eye is enduring stare of the king, emphasized by iron eyeobas were considered divine

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UMD ARTH 275 - Notes

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