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Royal Bas-Reliefs of Abomey Conservation Project records, 1845-2000 and undated (bulk 1994-1997)

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Guide to the Royal Bas-Reliefs of Abomey Conservation Project Records, 1845-2000 and undated (bulk 1994-1997)

Royal Bas-Reliefs of Abomey Conservation Project Background Note

In the mid-1990s, the Getty Conservation Institute and the West African Republic of Benin's Department of Cultural Patrimony worked together to conserve fifty severely damaged bas-relief panels that once adorned the Salle des Bijoux (Hall of Jewels) in the Historic Museum at the Royal Palaces of Abomey, a World Heritage Site. Abomey was the cultural hub of the Kingdom of Dahomey from 1695-1900. The bas-reliefs are thought to be the oldest surviving elements of the Royal Palaces, a group of earthen structures built by the Fon people between the mid-17th and late-19th centuries.

This conservation project systematically documented and preserved the polychrome earthen panels, each of which is about three feet square, weighs approximately 500 pounds, and depicts battle scenes and allegorical symbols of the power of the kings of Dahomey. The project also provided local Benin staff with training in conservation, photo documentation, and long-term care of the bas-reliefs.

For more information on the Royal Bas-Reliefs of Abomey Conservation Project see: http://www.getty.edu/conservation/our_projects/field_projects/abomey/index.html




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