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Intricate Castings Change History


T e Benin Bronzes are a collection of more than a thousand investment castings from the Benin Empire in what is now southern Nigeria created between the 13th and 18th centuries. T e relief


plaques often celebrated a particular “oba” (king) in court or warriors following victory in battle.


T e fi nely produced artworks didn’t receive interna- tional acclaim until 1897, when Britain, the imperial occupiers at the time, removed hundreds of pieces. T e Benin Bronzes—something of a misnomer because many of the pieces are brass or other al- loys—changed European views toward African culture and art. Naively imperialistic perceptions led many to believe Africans were incapable of such achievements, an assumption that proved false when research showed indigenous technological advance- ments led to the i ntricate castings.


56 | MODERN CASTING April 2015


SHAKEOUT


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