Edo Iron Work Guild

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THE GUILDS AND APPRENTICESHIP IN IRON INDUSTRY 4.1 THE FEATURE OF THE GUILDS Guild is an organization of people who do the same job, who joined together in the past to help each other improve their business. The origin of the guilds system can be traced to the earliest ruler of Benin A.D 900-1130 who were refered to Ogiso. Iron smithing had existed before the Ogiso monarchy and was the most prominent trade and occupation in nearly all the communities, since iron was used by other profession such as carving, weaving, pottery, farming and war fare. The system became too known as Otu i.e. guilds. Though the guilds worked mainly for Oba, they also produce on royal permission for chiefs and other personalities of Nobles. Infect when palace work was not too heavy, the guild member were believed to produce various objects through royal permission for citizen could not afford. It was during the reign of Ewuare’s that the territorial organization of the guilds into wards and section began proper, the oldest were Adaha, Eyaennugie and Ugboha. This was created in order to centralize their productive system. The blacksmith ward that dated to Oba Ewuare includes Igunekhua, Iwegie and Uselu. The guild had a head man; the city’s therefore divided into a number of self governing wards. The member were organized on age – grade, the Eniola (Junior) and Edion (Elders) the Edion group consisted of title holders who jointly from the council of guilds. The specific quarters of the guilds were named after the guilds for example the ward for Iron smith Igunmentor, while that of brass is called Igbesanwan.These street name still exist in Benin today. It is important to known that the Iron smithers who work in the same workshop are all related and belong to the same family group or section of the family, the number of brothers divide all work among themselves and

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