The Benin kingdom was founded by the son of an Ife king circa 1300, but it was not until the 15th and 16th centuries that the kingdom reached its maximum size and attained its highest artistic standards. Towards the end of the 15th century the Benin made contact with the Portuguese traders living along the coast and it is likely that these traders introduced previously unkown techniques such as brass gilting to Benin craftsmen.
Benin art is best described as a court art since it was associated with the king, known as the
. He held the monopoly on ivory and coral beads within the kingdom. Brass, ivory and wooden objects were also usually displayed during parades or were placed on top of ancestor altars.
~ links to various artifacts from BENIN on
BENIN Bronze Figures
BENIN Stringed Instruments