The interest of Gaëlle Beaujean's work, L'Art de cour d'Abomey, le sens des objets, resides in the fact that it constitutes a meritorious assemblage of knowledge about Abomey, capital of the ancient kingdom of Dahomey, situated in the southern part of present-day Republic of Benin. It does not, however, fulfill the expectations raised by the second part of its title.

Abomey and the Fon kingdom of Dahomey are at the heart of what is certainly the best documented and known region of west Africa. Indeed, many voyagers, diplomats, traders, and navigators left logbooks and travel reports. During the French war of conquest and colonization, soldiers in their travel diaries or field notes, and then administrators, geographers, and historians, made sometimes exceptional contributions to the knowledge of this kingdom and its historical, political, religious, social, and artistic particularities.

Since the independence of the colony of Dahomey in 1960, interest in...

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