Associatie/beschrijving (online getoond)Description
In het oude koninkrijk Benin werden ook aan de overleden koninginmoeders, de Iyoba's, voorouderaltaren gewijd. Naast bronzen gedenkkoppen van de Iyoba's stonden op deze altaren bronzen of messing hanen.
Hun aanwezigheid op koninklijke altaren werd het e
'In 1898 Museum Volkenkunde acquired fourteen artworks (RV-1163 and RV-1164 series) through the intermediary of the German lawyer Justus Brinckmann (1853-1915) who was the founding director of the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg, which was established in 1877.
Letters from 14 March and 29 March 1898 confirm the offer of 11 of the fourteen pieces from the Hamburg Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe run by Brinckmann (NL-LdnRMV-A1-26-63/65, NL-LdnRMV-A1-26-66).
On 25 March 1898 Museum Volkenkunde received a letter in which Brinckmann is referenced. It came from the trading company Bey and Co., also known as Bey & Zimmer and stationed on the Nigerian coast (fig. 2). The trading company wanted to sell three Benin bronzes, one cockerel, one head, and a waist pendant (NL-LdnRMV-A1-26-29).'
'The next letter from Bey and Co. on 29 March 1898 states that the three offered Benin bronzes will cost fl. 450. The company asks for immediate payment ‘because we have to sell the things for the account of a gentleman in Africa.’ Brinckmann thus connected the then director of Museum Volkenkunde, Schmeltz, to Bey & Co.
Predating the trading company letter, Brinckmann already advised on 14 March 1898, to make direct contact with Bey & Co because, in contrast to the rest of the objects he offers (series RV-1164), these three bronzes do not belong to the Hamburg Museum (NL-LdnRMV-A1-26-63/65, NL-LdnRMV-A1-26-66). Brinckmann remarks that the smaller chest ornament (RV-1163-3) is ‘very noteworthy (fig. 5). The bronze cockerel (RV-1163-1) is described as ‘one large bronze cockerel, which probably served as decoration at the top of the roof of an important person.’'
'The day book, the museum register and the annual report confirm that the three bronze objects (RV-1163-1, 2, 3) and the eleven Hamburg Museum objects (RV-1164-1 to RV-1164-11) were sent to Museum Volkenkunde as one batch and arrived from Hamburg on 28 March 1898 (DB-L: LdnRMV_A03_007_0211, MR-L: NL-LdnRMV_A03_045_0044, LdnRMV_A03_045_0045; AR-L 1897-1898: 19-20). The acquisition happened ‘as a result of the friendly intervention of Prof. Dr J. Brinckmann, Director of the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg.’'
A number of letters were exchanged between 13 January 1898 to 20 June 1898 about the objects. Brinckmann writes to Schmeltz on 20 January 1898 and the transcription is provided in the chapter ‘Die Bronzen aus Benin: Herkunft und Geschichte’ written by Silke Reuther: 'From Benin quite a few good pieces have arrived for us today by steamer of the Engl. Africa Line. We now have more than I and Dr. Hagen need. Let me know how much money you can make available. Then I will make you an offer and send the items or photographs for inspection. A large rooster, a head, one or two plates appear to be deliverable and some small bronzes. Let me know your opinion soon, otherwise I intend to go to Vienna.' (Reuther 2018: 39).
The pieces Brinckmann intended to sell had arrived on the steamship Sherbro in the harbour of Hamburg in January. As Reuther (2018: 36) elaborates, the ship belonged to the British and African Steam Navigation Company from Liverpool which shipped numerous pieces from Benin City to Hamburg on their service between West Africa and Hamburg. The Lagerbuch, or stock ledger, in which Brinckmann as an intermediary kept track of his acquisitions and sales of Benin artworks, shows that Ernst Heinz, most probably a crew member of the S.S. Sherbro, sold a bronze head to Brinckmann. It seems possible this head (possibly RV-1164-2) was later purchased by Museum Volkenkunde (Reuther 2018: 36; Lagerbuch 1897-1900 MKG Hamburg). On 18 February 1898, the Lagerbuch lists pieces that Brinckmann got from Albert Thomsen, who Reuther (2018: 40) describes as a ship chandler who had excellent contacts with all ships in the harbour and probably traded as a middleman. Seven of these items are marked as having been sold to Leiden. The handwritten Lagerbuch does not allow for further identification of which objects in the RV-1164 series came from Thomsen. (MKG Archiv, Ausländ 15. Mus., 1883-1958, L, Leiden, Ethnograph. Mus./Rijksmus.).
(Excerpt from Provenance no.2 'The Benin Collection at the National Museum of World Cultures' written by Rosalie Hans with Annette Schmidt' 11-01-2021)
Publicaties over het objectBibliography
1990 De geschiedenis van de Leidse Benin-verzameling. In: A. Duchâteau, Benin: vroege hofkunst uit Afrika. Brussel: 103 en 165.
Marquart, J., 'Die Benin-Sammlung des Reichsmuseums für Völkerkunde in Leiden'. Veroffentlichungen des Reichsmuseums für Völkerkunde in Leiden. Serie II nr. 7. Leiden: Brill, 1913.
Wijs, Sonja: Van ruilen komt huilen – een historische overdracht. In: Jaarboek 6 van de Vereniging Vrienden Etnografica (2018), p.100-119
For more information about the provenance, see issuu.com/tropenmuseum/docs/2021_provenance_2__benin__e-book"