Through African Eyes: The European in African Art,
1500–Present



Traders: Direct partnerships between Portuguese traders and African kingdoms resulted in a long-lasting impact on African arts and cultures. African artists incorporated European imagery, imported materials and goods.

Objects in this section show the European as a trader of goods and slaves–lucrative for some, destructive for others. This rare bronze hip ornament, a mask of a Portuguese face, was probably owned by a wealthy African of high rank announcing his powerful foreign connections.


Edo culture, Benin Kingdom, Nigeria. Hip Pendant Depicting Portuguese Face, 1500s–1800s. Brass. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Klaus G. Perls, 1991 (1991.162.9). Image ©The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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