Benin c. CE 900 - 1300
Religion

Find out about the legends of the Edo speaking people of Benin. Explore the famous creation story of Olorun and Obatala as well as other gods that were worshipped and the shrines that were built to give them offerings. Make shrines to the old gods or religious scenes of the Edo people inspired by Benin artwork.

Session 1 The beginning of the world and the first Oba

Objectives

History

  • Study a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.
  • Children should regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance.

English

  • Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role-play, improvisations and debates.

Art

  • Use sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas.

Teaching and Activities

Find out about and role play the Edo speaking people's myths about the start of the world, and the beginnings of Benin. Take turns sketching the scenes that are acted out in sketchbooks.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To find out about Benin's creation myths.
  • To act out the creation myths of Benin.
  • To sketch the role-played scenes.

Children will:

  • Use a sketchbook to record a scene in a dramatisation.
  • Improvise a short play based on historical information.
  • Explain what the people of Benin believed about how the world and Benin came into being .

You Will Need

  • A book
  • A bag of money
  • A snail shell
  • Sketchbooks

Session 2 The King's Festival

Objectives

History

  • Study a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.

English

  • Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role-play, improvisations and debates.

Art

  • Use sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas.
  • Improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials [for example, pencil, charcoal, paint, clay].

Teaching and Activities

Role play a King's Festival, where the Oba of Benin is the focus of religious celebrations. Photograph the event and then make sketches based on the photos.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To find out about the Igue Festival of the Obas of Benin.
  • To recreate an Igue Festival.
  • To make props for the recreation.

Children will:

  • Act out an event based on a festival from another culture sensitively.
  • Make props using a variety of materials and techniques.
  • Analyse what a modern festival might tell us about the traditional beliefs of a cultural group.

You Will Need

  • Coconut pieces and milk
  • Cooked chicken
  • Red or white dresses/sheets
  • Red bead necklaces
  • Drums
  • Cardboard, green paper & red tissue paper
  • Plastic bottles
  • Rice or dried peas
  • Needles and thread
  • Sketchbooks
  • Making materials
  • Camera

Session 3 A pantheon of gods

Objectives

History

  • Study a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.

Art

  • Use sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas.

Teaching and Activities

Explore the objects that show us some of the kings and gods of Benin, make sketches of these objects.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • Explore the objects that show us some of the kings and gods of Benin, make sketches of these objects.
  • To sketch the objects that they find.

Children will:

  • Use sketchbooks and annotate their drawings.
  • Work out what an object tells us about the religion of the Kingdom of Benin.
  • Explain their opinions using evidence to back them up.

You Will Need

  • Sketchbooks

Session 4 Make a religious scene

Objectives

History

  • Study a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.

Art

  • Use sketch books to record their observations and use them to review and revisit ideas.
  • Improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials, (for example, pencil, charcoal, paint, clay).

Teaching and Activities

Use your sketches to model a replica shrine or religious scene.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To apply their knowledge of Benin's religion to making a model.
  • To make a model of a religious scene.

You Will Need

  • Sketchbooks
  • Photos of the Igue Festival you recreated
  • Mod roc
  • Balloons
  • Paint and PVA glue
  • Red tissue paper
  • Needles and thread
  • Cardboard
  • Newspaper
  • Air-drying clay
  • Old coat hangers
  • Thin wire