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You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>PhotoNews: US Museum Receives African Art Collection
Friday, 09 November 2012 22:53

PhotoNews: US Museum Receives African Art Collection

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Commemorative head of a defeated neighboring leader Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria, late 15th-early 16th century Copper alloy Commemorative head of a defeated neighboring leader Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria, late 15th-early 16th century Copper alloy

Museum of Fine Arts Boston Receives Monumental Boost To African Art Collection

"The Museum of Fine Arts Boston recently received a collection of extremely rare sculptures from Benin, adding new depth to their African art collection. Until now, the museum only owned a single piece from Benin -- though it opened its African Art section over twenty years ago. The pieces are prized for their sharp detail and scarcity, as a majority of the works were destroyed during colonialism. Now the Boston MFA is the proud owner of 28 bronze statues and six ivory pieces.New York banker and collector Robert Owen Lehman, great-grandson of a founder of Lehman Brothers, is behind the gift. He purchased the Benin pieces in the 1950s and 1970s, and ultimately chose to part with his prized collection, according to the Wall Street Journal, because they "would make a real difference in Boston."

With great skill and clarity the works give a realistic view of West African history through its people's own traditional artwork. Metalworking was a key component of the King's court during Benin reign, and Benin people were especially fond of working with brass, which symbolized the continuity of kinship because its resistance to corrosion. The musical instruments, weapons and ornaments on display shed new light on a rich history that is rarely discussed in America today." -Huffington Post

 

Horseman Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria, 16th century Copper alloy

Commemorative head of an Oba (King) Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria, late 16th century Copper alloy

Pectoral showing two officials Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria, 16th-17th century Copper alloy

Portuguese rifleman Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria, 16th century Copper alloy

Relief plaque showing a dignitary with a drum and two attendants striking gongs Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria, 1550-1650 Copper alloy
Saltcellar Sapi peoples, Sierra Leone and Guinea, late 15th-early 16th century Ivory
Pendant showing an Iyoba (Queen Mother) with a gong Edo peoples, Benin kingdom, Nigeria, late 17th-early 18th century Ivory
Relief plaque showing a battle scene Edo peoples, Benin
kingdom, Nigeria, 1550-1650 Copper alloy
*Robert Owen Lehman Collection
*Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Last modified on Friday, 09 November 2012 23:09

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