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Spectacular and sophisticated, the royal sculptures and regalia from the West African Kingdom of Benin are among the continent’s most acclaimed works of art. This landmark exhibition, representing six centuries of Benin's rich artistic heritage, brings together more than 220 of these masterworks from collections around the world and makes its sole North American stop at the Art Institute of Chicago. Planned with the most prominent scholars of Benin art, history, and culture, as well as the cooperation of reigning Oba Erediauwa and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria, Benin—Kings and Rituals brings international attention and new perspectives to Benin art and history.


Altar Head of an Oba (Uhunmwun Elao), 18th/early 19th century. Edo; Benin Kingdom, Nigeria. The Art Institute of Chicago, Major Acquisitions Centennial Endowment, 2003.16.