Benin City was the capital of the independent kingdom of Benin and is today the capital of Bendal State in Nigeria. Its most famous building was the palace of the Oba (king) of Benin (map).
The kingdom of Benin prospered particularly during the late 16th and early 17th century, and the bronze (more accurately brass) and copper casting manufacture that had been working in Benin City for several centuries developed into art of the highest refinement. Portrait busts showed important personalities, and the walls and columns in the Oba's palace were covered by bas-reliefs.
Phtot: © Deborah Vess; reproduced by permission