Benin, a hundred or so miles from Ife in present day Nigeria, emerged in the 10th c., influenced by Ife (as indicated above) and reached its peak about the time that the Portuguese arrived in West Africa in the late 15th century. The Oba, or divine king, acted as a patron of the arts and expected the court artists to depict the power and grandeur of the reign or dynasty. Artist guilds worked in bronze and ivory (as well as textiles and wood.)
Detailed sculpture dating to the ancient Nok culture. The Nok culture existed over years ago in the land that would later be called Nigeria. This culture was known for magnificent terracotta sculptures and the development of iron working.