The plaque under consideration, is of a forward facing man, with an aquiline nose, thin lips, neatly trimmed beard, wearing a sun hat with flaps and looking intently at the viewer. He is dressed in a typical 16th century Portuguese style, wearing a decorated tunic with padded shoulders and tight breeches with short boots. He has a business like manner, carrying in his right hand a brass manilla, the main item of exchange with Benin, and a walking cane in the other. It is significant that he is not armed, clearly indicating he is safe in foreign surroundings. The background is pleasingly stylised with clusters of petals set against a stippled ground imbuing a secure feeling.
It seems probable that Fernao Gomes, a Portuguese 'merchant adventurer' discovered the kingdom of Benin in 1474 (Wood, K. 2008, p. 8), seeking trading opportunities and looking for gold. The...
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...best case for the retention of the British Benin sculptures is to accord them the unique status they deserve as exceptional artworks and exhibit them appropriately in a prestigious national art gallery, for everyone to appreciate fully.
Flinders, P. and Holman, K. and others, (2012) AA100 'Tutorial Forum Book 3, Weeks, 1 and 2' – Benin , online at http://learn.open.ac.uk/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=900850, accessed between 4 and 17 February, 2015.
Loftus, D. and Wood, P. (2008), 'The Art of Benin: Changing Relations Between Europe and Africa II' in Brown, R. D. (ed.) Cultural Encounters (AA100 Book 3), Milton Keynes, The Open University, pp. 43-87.
The Art of Benin, (2009), AA100 DVD ROM, Milton Keynes, The Open University.
The Open University, (2008), AA100 Illustration Book (Plates for Books 3 and 4), Milton Keynes, The Open University.
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