Explore Digital Benin

Ẹyo Otọ

Ẹyo Otọ is a learning space about the objects and their Edo designations. Listen, view and read about their use, production and function.


Search, filter and explore data, images and linked research for 5,246 objects from 131 institutions in twenty countries.


View objects listed in the 131 institutions in twenty countries currently holding historical Benin objects in their collections.


Study the roles, biographies and object relations of provenance names found in the information provided by 131 institutions.


Explore a present day map of Edo South (ancient Benin Kingdom) and Benin City. See the current location of the historical objects worldwide.

Oral History

Listen to oral traditions Benin people share, to transmit and preserve knowledge and cultural traditions from one generation to another.

Itan Edo

Itan Edo is the story of Benin Kingdom. Read about the cultural and historical trajectories related to kings, queens, guilds and more.


View 3D objects, print out a Colouring Book and Language Cards of Ẹyo Otọ and view an introduction video.
Body Fragment and Head of an Ikpin (snake figure) Unidentified workshop of the Bronze Casters Guild Igun-Ẹrọnmwọn / Benin Kingdom, Nigeria, 17th/18th century / Brass / Acquired from Fritz Stahl, 1903, and Oskar Kaiser, 1904, Inv. no. C 3827, C 3951 / Coll. MARKK / © MARKK, Brigitte Saal
Digital Benin brings together all objects, historical photographs and rich documentation material from collections worldwide to provide a long-requested overview of the royal artefacts from Benin Kingdom looted in the late nineteenth century. The historic Benin objects are an expression of Benin arts, culture and history, and were originally used as royal representational arts, to depict historical events, to communicate, to worship and perform rituals.  The digital platform introduces new scholarship which connects digital documentation about the translocated objects to oral histories, object research, historical context, a foundational Edo language catalogue, provenance names, a map of the Benin Kingdom and museum collections worldwide. Digital Benin connects data from 5,246 objects across 131 institutions in 20 countries. Digital Benin’s scope focuses on objects looted by British forces from the Kingdom of Benin (now Edo State, Nigeria) in February 1897 and distributed in its immediate aftermath. Together, these events and processes led to the worldwide translocation of the objects shown on this platform. A small set of objects is included in the catalogue to represent the broader context in which the artistic production of Benin guilds is situated: Bini-Portuguese Ivories, produced and circulated outside West Africa in the 16th centuries, objects produced in neighbouring regions of the kingdom and a selection of works produced by named artists after 1930, which are held in museum collections. 
View project documentation
Sensitive Content
Digital Benin collates digital material from institutions, and some of this material is inherently colonial and contains words, terms and phrases that are inaccurate, derogatory and harmful towards African and African diasporic communities. Catalogue transcriptions, book titles, exhibition titles and museum titles may contain harmful terms. We recognise the potential for the material to cause physical and mental distress as well as evoke strong emotions. Owing to the scale of the collection’s data, a process to implement sensitive-content warnings in the displayed data is still incomplete. The material within the catalogue does not represent Digital Benin’s views. Digital Benin maintains a strong anti-colonial, anti-racist position and affirms its support for centring the humanity of historically marginalised and disenfranchised communities. Read more about the background of this statement here.
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