Reliëfplaat met afbeelding van een man die in beide handen een bolvormig voorwerp, een rammelaar, vasthoudt; hij draagt een kralen muts en een hoge kraag van kralen; zijn bovenlijf is ontbloot. De rammelaar werd gemaakt van een kalebas waarover een netje
Materiaal en techniek (NB: ook thesaurustermen aanpassen!)Material
'On 1 February 1898, the London based natural history dealer Gustav Adolph Frank brought the ‘Benin bronzes’ to the attention of the director of Museum Volkenkunde Schmeltz (NL-LdnRMV-A1-26-98/99). [...] Of the initial three pieces on offer, the director Schmeltz chose a plaque, which was according to Frank ‘possibly the finest piece that came from Benin.’ The asking price was £50. A letter from 6 April 1898 provides evidence that Frank sent four arm rings to Leiden as part of his offer (NL-LdnRMV-A1-26-100/101).' The pieces were acquired on 4 May 1898.
'The plaque (RV-1170-5) was part of the 315 plaques that arrived from the British Foreign Office in September 1897 and were displayed in the British Museum. In 1898, a sale was organised at the British Museum of the 112 plaques that the museum had not selected. This was done to offset the costs of the campaign. Even though it was initially assumed that the plaques loaned to the British Museum in 1897 would be acquired by the museum, a year later, over a third of the plaques were sold with the profits going to the Foreign Office (Coombes 1994: 59, Lundén 2016: 163).
A photographic album in the British Museum containing all the plaques that were sold at the auction in 1898 shows that the Museum Volkenkunde plaque (RV-1170-5) was one of these. The numbers on the objects (17 for this plaque) were assigned by the Foreign Office but were also used by Read, the curator at the British Museum at the time, and are sometimes known as the ‘Read numbers.’ Documentation accompanying the photographs of the sold plaques shows that this object was bought by ‘Cutter’, most likely Miss Eva Cutter (Fig. 7). She is known to have been Webster’s business partner and a dealer in her own right: ‘In the 1890s Eva Cutter took over Webster’s trading business, and in 1898, when the museum was selling three hundred plaques from Benin, she purchased nearly forty examples (Waterfield & King 2006: 59).
In personal correspondence between the director Schmeltz and Felix von Luschan, then assistant director of the African and Oceanic section at the Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin, the latter mentions RV-1170-5 and asks: ‘Have you thought about what the man is holding in his hands on plate British Museum 17 = p. 1170 no. 5?’ Apparently Schmeltz and Von Luschan exchanged knowledge and ideas about the meaning of this artwork.'
(Excerpt from Provenance no. 2 'The Benin Collections at the National Museum of World Cultures' written by Rosalie Hans with Annette Schmidt, 12-01-2021)
Series RV-1170 was acquired on 4 May 1898.
1990 De geschiedenis van de Leidse Benin-verzameling. In: A. Duchâteau, Benin: vroege hofkunst uit Afrika. Brussel: 162.
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.