During the ‘Punitive Expedition’ and great fire of 1897, Benin City was looted and destroyed. Few houses survived and several thousand cherished bronzes were carried away by the British.
Sadly, years after the looting, valuable antiquities were still being sold to dealers all over the world.
The few that still remain can give you an idea of the splendor that was old Benin.
The fame of Benin rests largely on its traditional culture and one of the most popular aspects of this culture is Benin carvings and brass work.
Today, there has been a decline in the numbers of traditional artists in this discipline but of those that remain, some of them still keep to tradition and an association of brass workers and wood carvers still exists, though members are few.
It is believed that the decline in traditional carvers started in the early part of last century, the constant stream and demand by foreign visitors influenced the diversion from unique pieces to more commercial works to satisfy the tourist market.
Many talented artists found their way out of the tradition all together and embraced and formally learned western techniques like Colette Omogbai and Bruce Onobrakpeya.
An exception to this influence was O. Idah. Read More