[République du Bénin; formerly Dahomey, People’s Republic of Benin]
Country in West Africa bordered by Togo to the west, Burkina Faso and Niger to the north and Nigeria to the east. To the south it has a short coastline (c. 125 km) on the Gulf of Guinea. The capital is Porto Novo. The population of 4,591,000 (UN estimate, 1989) comprises a number of ethnic groups including Fon and Yoruba. The official language is French.
This entry covers the art produced in the area since colonial times. For art of the region in earlier periods, see Africa §VII 4.. For more information on some of Benin’s continuing art traditions, see Fon. See also Yoruba.
The territory of Benin (c. 122,622 sq. km) consists of a narrow band of land stretching from the sea to the Sahel. The relatively fertile land near the coast soon gives way to poorer soil and then savannah. As Dahomey, Benin was part of French West Africa from ...