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Guide to the Royal Bas-Reliefs of Abomey Conservation Project Records, 1845-2000 and undated (bulk 1994-1997)
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Getty Conservation Institute Field Projects Background Note
  • Royal Bas-Reliefs of Abomey Conservation Project Background Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Royal Bas-Reliefs of Abomey Conservation Project records
    Date (inclusive): 1845-2000 and undated (bulk 1994-1997)
    Number: IA50001
    Creator/Collector: Getty Conservation Institute
    Physical Description: 31.7 linear feet (46 boxes)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Institutional Records and Archives
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, California, 90049-1688
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: The records consist of administrative records, project field materials, project reports, and conference-, publication-, and exhibition-related materials all concerning the Getty Conservation Institute's field project for the conservation of the bas-reliefs of the Royal Palaces of Abomey in the Republic of Benin, West Africa. Project records date from 1994 to 2000 and supplemental reference materials date from 1845 to the 1990s.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical material described in this inventory through its corresponding library catalog record  and click "Request." Click here for general library access policy . See the Administrative Information section of this finding aid for access restrictions specific to the records described below. Please note, some of the records may be stored off site; advanced notice is required for access to these materials.
    Language: Collection material is in The records are in English and French, with a small amount of Spanish, Italian, and German materials.

    Getty Conservation Institute Field Projects Background Note

    The Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) works to advance conservation practice in the visual arts, broadly interpreted to include objects, collections, architecture, and sites. It serves the conservation community through scientific research, education and training, model field projects, and the broad dissemination of the results of both its own work and the work of others in the field. In all its endeavors, the GCI focuses on the creation and dissemination of knowledge that will benefit the professionals and organizations responsible for the conservation of the world's cultural heritage. The work of the Institute is carried out in four main areas: education, field projects, science, and communications.
    The Getty Conservation Institute aims to advance conservation practice worldwide through the development and implementation of model field projects which incorporate strong research, planning and educational objectives. In all projects, the GCI works with local partners so as to build local expertise and ensure sustainability. The GCI broadly disseminates information resulting from its project work through training and publications. All projects follow recognized international principles of conservation and adhere to the highest standards of practice. These include an understanding of the cultural significance of the object or site, respect for the multiplicity of values associated with it, thorough documentation and diagnostic research, and intervention which is minimal, compatible, and appropriate to local circumstances.
    The Getty Conservation Institute is overseen by the J. Paul Getty Trust, a not-for-profit educational organization. The GCI is housed at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, along with the other programs of the Getty Trust. Its facility at the Center includes scientific laboratories, programmatic and administrative offices, and a conservation information center. In addition, the GCI maintains a laboratory at the Getty Villa, also in the Los Angeles area.
    For more information see the Getty Conservation Institute website: http://www.getty.edu/conservation/ 

    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 

    Administrative Information

    Conditions Governing Access note

    With the exception of materials that have been marked restricted or confidential, the records described in accession 2013.IA.28 are available for use by qualified researchers. Project administration records (Series V) are closed.
    Original recordings are restricted. Use copies do not exist for all audio or video recordings in this collection. The production of use copies is required before access can be granted and may add a delay to research requests. Advanced notice is required for the production of use copies.
    The following types of records are permanently closed: records containing personal information, records that compromise security or operations, legal communications, legal work product, and records related to donors. The J. Paul Getty Trust reserves the right to restrict access to any records held by the Institutional Archives.

    Conditions Governing Use note

    Contact Library Rights and Reproductions  at the Getty Research Institute for copyright information and permission to publish.

    Preferred Citation note

    [Cite the item and series (as appropriate)], Royal Bas-Reliefs of Abomey Conservation Project Records, 1845-2000 and undated (bulk 1994-1997), The Getty Conservation Institute. The Getty Research Institute (IA50001).

    Acquisition Information

    The records described in this finding aid originated in accession number 2013.IA.28 and were transferred by the Getty Conservation Institute in July 2013.

    Processing Information note

    The materials were organized and the finding aid was created by Lauren Jung and Cameron Trowbridge in 2013. Cyndi Shein revised the finding aid and prepared it for publication.

    Related Materials

    The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the people and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.
    Approximately 8,000 slides documenting the conservation of the bas-reliefs of the Royal Palaces at Abomey are available and accessible through the Getty Conservation Institute Information Center.
    Additional related materials are available, including images, video, and publications, on the the Getty Conservation Institute's conservation projects webpage page: http://www.getty.edu/conservation/our_projects/field_projects/abomey/index.html 

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Royal Bas-Reliefs of Abomey Conservation Project records, dating 1993-2000 and undated (bulk 1994-1997), comprise materials used and created by the Getty Conservation Institute for the field project concerning the conservation of the bas-reliefs of the Royal Palaces of Abomey in the Republic of Benin, West Africa. Also included are reference materials dating from 1845 to the 1990s. The records consist of project administrative records (background reference material regarding Benin, correspondence, project agreements, budgets, project outlines and timelines, and meeting notes), field project materials (in-field conservation documentation, off-prints and references, and training materials), field reports, audio-visual recordings, and images. The materials document the development, operation, progress, and results of the Abomey conservation field project, the corresponding international conference on the Royal Palaces of Abomey, the Getty Conservation Institute print and video publications about the field project, and two related museum exhibitions.

    Arrangement note

    The collection is arranged in the following series:
    Series I. Core project files, 1845-1998 and undated (bulk 1994-1997);
    Series II. Project dissemination and promotion, 1993-1999 and undated;
    Series III. Exhibitions, 1994-1995, 1997, 1999-2000 and undated;
    Series IV. History Told on Walls video production records, 1994-1997 and undated;
    Series V. Project administration records, 1988-1998 and undated. (CLOSED)

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Art, Bini--Exhibitions
    Bas-relief--Conservation and restoration
    Bini (African people)--Social life and customs
    Historic sites--Conservation and restoration--Fieldwork

    Subjects - Places

    Abomey (Benin)--Conservation and restoration--Fieldwork

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Folk dance music--Benin
    Project files
    Sound recordings--20th century
    Video recordings--20th century