Through punitive expeditions of the 1987 in Benin, some of the first bronze art pieces were found that drew the attention of the European public. Benin bronze casters had been practicing the art form well before the 13th century. A Benin bronze head resides here at the Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art; from studying it, we can understand why the Benin people made art, who it represents and who it belonged to. The Benin people operated a monarchical system and so, expert groups of bronze casters and ivory carver were recruited to make art for the royal family. Benin bronze heads are sometimes made as commemorative pieces to honour the dead. The method of casting used in Benin is very similar to that used in Ife and is also believed to have originated from there by some. The Benin people used their art for several functions ranging from commemorative, ancestral deification, trade to historical documentation.
To read about the Benin art, click the link below and download our information sheet.