A collection of extraordinary plaques, seized as loot during the colonial aggression that ended the powerful Benin Empire in 1897, depict life in the African kingdom's royal court at its height. In this program art historian Gus Casely-Hayford travels to legendary Timbuktu, the Great Mosque of Djenn, the Oba Royal Palace, and Dogon country to learn more about how the plaques were made and what they reveal about the continent's sophisticated pre-colonial civilizations. In addition, Casely-Hayford meets with local historians, village elders, and craftspeople from hereditary guilds still using an ancient mix of metallurgical skill and spiritual practice to create traditional works of art.
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