Today Year 5 visited the Horniman Museum to find out more about the Benin Bronzes and other artefacts. We were able to handle replicas and found out that each plaque told a story as there was no written language so history was represented. We did find out that they don’t actually tell the full story. There are no representations of women, children or poorer citizens. The plaques represented the Oba, victories or soldiers.
We also heard the Benin Creation story. They believed the world was originally a ball of water. The story goes that Osanobua, the creator god had 4 sons. He sent them to earth and each had to choose something to bring with them. One chose money, another magic, the third son chose tools and the final son couldn’t decide. A passing bird told him to bring a shell. When they arrived in earth, there was only water, nowhere to spend money or use tools. Nothing. The bird whispered into the fourth son to tip the shell on it’s side. Out trickled some sand. It continued to trickle and created land on earth.
Interestingly the first oba was carried in case the land turned back to water.
We also found out about the lost wax method used to create the bronzes.
In the world gallery there were actual bronzes and artefacts from Ancient Benin which we viewed.
We we also did a few other things too!