Royal Art of Benin: The Perls Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Kate Ezra, Author Metropolitan Museum of Art New York $60 (330p) ISBN 978-0-8109-6414-3
For more than 500 years, the West African kingdom of Benin has produced brass, ivory, wood and terracotta sculpture prized for its naturalism, beauty and technical sophistication. This sumptuous catalogue of an exhibition at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art reproduces mysterious brass heads of monarchs and queen mothers, palace plaques teeming with relief figures, regal roosters atop ancestral altars, carved ivory tusks and pyramid-shaped bells. Ezra, an associate curator of the museum, makes it clear in her informative text that this art is intimately linked to rituals of divine kingship and religion, as can be seen in complex altar tableaux depicting the king surrounded by courtiers, chiefs and attendants, and in cylindrical wood altars dedicated to the human hand, which is worshipped in the Benin religion. The book also surveys the intricate, luminous ivory sculpture of Owo, a nearby Yoruba kingdom from which Benin's reigning dynasty traces its origins. (June)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 330 pages - 978-0-300-08663-8
Hardcover - 330 pages - 978-0-87099-633-7
Hardcover - 330 pages - 978-0-87099-632-0
Paperback - 344 pages - 978-0-300-19403-6
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