Michael Graham-Stewart collection, World Cultures, Africa, Special collections

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Benin chair seat

Michael Graham-Stewart collection

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Object details:

Object ID ZBA2454
Description This woodcarving is probably a stool panel from the kingdom of Benin, in today’s Nigeria. The precise date of the carving is uncertain. It may have been made as a specially commissioned object for the Oba (King) of Benin, showing an African tribunal and representing the Oba’s status, wealth and power. However, it is more probable that it represents the punitive expedition carried out by the British against Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi, the king of Benin in 1897. To pay for the expedition, British forces looted Benin’s bronze art treasures – the famous Benin Bronzes – and sold them to collectors in Europe.
Date made late 19th century

Artist/Maker Unknown
Place made Nigeria, West Africa
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Michael Graham-Stewart Slavery Collection. Acquired with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund
Materials wood
Measurements Chair seat: 335 x 630 mm
  • Benin chair seat (ZBA2454)
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