One cabinet card with an albumen photographic print by Cyril Punch of a Benin altar with two bronze heads supporting ivory tusks and framing a group of brass statues and bells, an inscription on the frame reading, "Juju altar, Benin City, May 1891.
Photograph of Ovonramwen, King of Benin (Oba), aboard a ship on his way into exile, 1897. Photographer unknown.
The Flora S. Kaplan papers document her field work, research, and professional activities from 1951-2012 (bulk 1969-2012) and primarily deal with her work as the director and founder of New York University's Museum Studies program and her field work in Benin and Mexico. The collection consists of correspondence, research files, book files, photographs, sound recordings, ephemera, and writings.
Photographs taken by Anni Siranne-Coplan in 1975 and 1976 of daily life in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo. Images depict architecture, open air markets and street scenes in cities, coastal towns and rural villages.
The collection contains 527 color 35mm slides taken by Ivan Livingstone in West Africa (primarily the Republic of Benin but also in Ghana, Nigeria and Togo) circa 1972-1973. Images depict market scenes, Egúngún and Ifa ceremonies, religious ceremonies of the Celestial Church of Christ, funeral processions, decoration and ornament, clothing and dress, and musicians. There are also several images of the palace of the Oni of Ife. Culture groups represented in the collection include the Yoruba, Ifè, Oyo, Somba, Fon,Dan and Fula peoples.
The collection consists of approximately 1,950 glass plate and large format film negatives,100 hand-tinted and black-and-white prints and four photographic albums containing prints of various sizes, taken by Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge, the royal photographer to the Oba of Benin, Akenzua II (1933-1978). These images span six decades (1926 - 1989) and represent a dynamic, continuous record of the Benin Royal Court in Nigeria. Alonge documented the pageantry, ritual and regalia of the Obas, their wives and retainers for over a half-century, including the coronation of the King and the Iyoba, or queen mother. The collection also documents historic visits to Benin by Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip (1956), Princess Alexandra (1960), foreign dignitaries, traditional rulers, political leaders and celebrities. The collection preserves an important historical record of Benin art and culture during the periods of British colonial rule and Nigerian independence in the 20th century. The rarity and historical value of the collection are enhanced by Alonge's privileged access to the Palace as a chief in the Iwebo Palace Society, a position which presents a unique insider's view of Benin royalty. The quality of the collection is testament to Alonge's technological skills in photography and his professionalism in keeping the collection ordered and well-preserved despite the heat, humidity and tropical climate of Nigeria.
The collection includes 1,469 color slides (35mm) which were taken in Nigeria from circa 1964-1994, and focus on ancestral altars; artists; art objects in museums, including bronze plaques and carved ivory tusks; ceremonies and festivals, including the Igue and Ewere Festivals, and the Emobo, Otue, Olokun, title-taking, and Blackmun's initation ceremonies; and people, including Oba Erediauwa and chiefs Eribo, Ero, Esogban, Ezomo, Ohanmu and Osaigeide; and street and landscape scenes in Benin City, Ife, Lagos, Ishiago, and Mbarri, Owerri, Owo, among other locations in Nigeria.
The photographs document William Fagg's extensive survey work in Nigeria and his trips to Benin, Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Zaire. The photographs illustrate African cultures and works of art, especially those of the Yoruba in Nigeria. Nigerian artisans portrayed include a blacksmith in the town of Jebba, a craftsman casting brass at Ijebu-Ode, and a potter at work in Nok. Celebrations and ceremonies documented include the igue oba and itue ceremonies and the festival of leaves in Benin. There are also images of dances of the Bargesh in northern Nigeria and a masked dance at Nok. Architecture documented includes altars and shrines in Benin and in Oyo, Nigeria; a Birom settlement; Brazilian-style houses in Porto Novo, Republic of Benin; an emir's house in Nigeria; a Jarawa village in Nigeria; the mosque in Keffi, Nigeria; and palaces of Yoruba kings. Most of the photographs show sculpture including Benin bronze plaques and hip masks; Esie stone sculpture; Ifa divination boards, drums, and figures; a Kuba ndop (royal statue) in the Kinshasa Museum; Nok terra-cotta and wooden figures; and Tada bronze figures. There also are images of epa (masquerade) masks; gelede (men's society) masks; a head of Olokun (a male Yoruba divinity) from Ibadan, Nigeria; and Yoruba edan ogboni (bronze staffs) and ibeji (twin figures) from Nigeria. Images of objects by identifiable artists include a palace pillar, post and sculpture by Agbonbiofe; a door and epa mask by Areogun; and a house post and lidded bowl by Olowe of Ise.
Photographs taken by Roy and Brigitta Mitchell during their travels in Benin, Senegal, Togo and Burkina Faso from 1980 to 1982.
Photographic album formerly belonging to Major General Claude Maxwell Macdonald (1852-1915), Commissioner, Oil Rivers Protectorate, in West Africa, circa 1895. The album contains photographs of the consulate general in Old Calabar, Opobo and Bonny. Images, such as the arrival of Lady Macdonald in 1895 (returning from a home leave), interiors of British residences, and (named) group portraits of the British reflect colonial life and infrastructure. Native and British troops are depicted as well. Several images show the results of the British attacks on Brass and Nembe, in retaliation for King Nana's unwillingness to cooperate. Several images were taken of chiefs, among them a copy photograph of a 1882 image of King Nana of the Benin River, King Jaja of Opobo, King Koko of Brass, King Duke IX of Old Calabar, and King George Pebble of Bonny. Perhaps the most outstanding imagery is a series "On the way to Benin," which contains the photograph of an altar, a crucified woman, a forest path, and a contingent of British colonials. Several remarkable photographs depict Cross River masquerades with head crests, dances of Kru "Boys," and portray women of the Niger Delta. One photograph, showing the bronze sculpture of a Benin horseman placed on a rug in front of a wall (very likely taken in Nigeria), is of great interest for art historians. This particular figure left Benin before the city was ransacked and destroyed by the British Punitive Expedition in 1987, and, according to William B. Fagg, eminent historian of Nigerian art, came to the Merseyside County Museums, Liverpool, UK, as early as 1892 (note that Macdonald arrived in the Oil Rivers Protectorate in 1891).