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Re: Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of [#permalink]
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I took more that 4 min to get to the answer.
I dont know what is Commemorative plaques so i consider it as some kind of design
P1:- SO Design, which is part of brass-casting techniques, was part of Benin culture
P2 :- oldest design available is of 1400's means atmax 1400 year old.
P3:- Portuguese came in 1485 ,
P4 :- but records shows cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring

conclusion is Portuguese does not introduce brass-casting techniques
What if Portuguese does have an contact with neighbours and Portuguese tought neighbours this tech.
so assumption is ortuguese does not have an contact
B is the aaswer
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Re: Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of [#permalink]
Nightfury14 wrote:
Premise:
1. Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of the Benin culture of West Africa.
2. Some scholars, noting that the oldest surviving plaques date to the 1400s, hypothesize that brass-casting techniques were introduced by the Portuguese, who came to Benin in 1485 A.D.
3. But Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife.

Conclusion: So it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese.

Question Type :
Strengthens, New information can be added.
Prephase: Benin’s knowledge of brass casting was not derived from the Portuguese. So look for answer choice that keep the Portuguese at bay with respect to Brass-casting

A. The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers. - A neutral ans. Does not strengthen -will keep if none other match.
B. The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s. - Plaques date to the 1400s, Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife. but portuguese had no contact with Ife untill 1500s, hence Ife had their own set of skills of casting plaques.
C. In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques. - A good contender - But Protuguese did not use cast brass plaques does not mean they could not have shared the knowledge - Incorrect
D. As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans. - Benin artists may have used the knowledge acquired from portuguese to make the plaques.
E. Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory. - Not relevant to the subject.



Hi,

Thank you for such a good explanation , however can you please elaborate more why A is incorrect. Are we not strengthening the argument by sayin that Portuguese did not even had metal workers when they came to Benin and isn't B little out of scope? Please help

Regards
Megha
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megha_2709 wrote:
Nightfury14 wrote:
Premise:
1. Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of the Benin culture of West Africa.
2. Some scholars, noting that the oldest surviving plaques date to the 1400s, hypothesize that brass-casting techniques were introduced by the Portuguese, who came to Benin in 1485 A.D.
3. But Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife.

Conclusion: So it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese.

Question Type :
Strengthens, New information can be added.
Prephase: Benin’s knowledge of brass casting was not derived from the Portuguese. So look for answer choice that keep the Portuguese at bay with respect to Brass-casting

A. The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers. - A neutral ans. Does not strengthen -will keep if none other match.
B. The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s. - Plaques date to the 1400s, Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife. but portuguese had no contact with Ife untill 1500s, hence Ife had their own set of skills of casting plaques.
C. In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques. - A good contender - But Protuguese did not use cast brass plaques does not mean they could not have shared the knowledge - Incorrect
D. As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans. - Benin artists may have used the knowledge acquired from portuguese to make the plaques.
E. Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory. - Not relevant to the subject.



Hi,

Thank you for such a good explanation , however can you please elaborate more why A is incorrect. Are we not strengthening the argument by sayin that Portuguese did not even had metal workers when they came to Benin and isn't B little out of scope? Please help

Regards
Megha


If A were as follows, then it would be strengthening:
"The Portuguese records indicate that their expedition of 1485 did not include metalworkers.".
The current construction of A is neither strengthening nor weakening as the option A does not indicate whether there were (or there were no) metalworkers in the expedition team.

Option B:
It could be the case that Ife got the brass jewelry from the Portuguese and then in turn sent to the Benins. But if the Portuguese did not have contact with the Ife (as mentioned in option B), then it cannot be the case that the Benins got the jewelry from the Portuguese (even indirectly).
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Re: Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of [#permalink]
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sayantanc2k wrote:
megha_2709 wrote:
Nightfury14 wrote:
Premise:
1. Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of the Benin culture of West Africa.
2. Some scholars, noting that the oldest surviving plaques date to the 1400s, hypothesize that brass-casting techniques were introduced by the Portuguese, who came to Benin in 1485 A.D.
3. But Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife.

Conclusion: So it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese.

Question Type :
Strengthens, New information can be added.
Prephase: Benin’s knowledge of brass casting was not derived from the Portuguese. So look for answer choice that keep the Portuguese at bay with respect to Brass-casting

A. The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers. - A neutral ans. Does not strengthen -will keep if none other match.
B. The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s. - Plaques date to the 1400s, Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife. but portuguese had no contact with Ife untill 1500s, hence Ife had their own set of skills of casting plaques.
C. In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques. - A good contender - But Protuguese did not use cast brass plaques does not mean they could not have shared the knowledge - Incorrect
D. As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans. - Benin artists may have used the knowledge acquired from portuguese to make the plaques.
E. Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory. - Not relevant to the subject.



Hi,

Thank you for such a good explanation , however can you please elaborate more why A is incorrect. Are we not strengthening the argument by sayin that Portuguese did not even had metal workers when they came to Benin and isn't B little out of scope? Please help

Regards
Megha


If A were as follows, then it would be strengthening:
"The Portuguese records indicate that their expedition of 1485 did not include metalworkers.".
The current construction of A is neither strengthening nor weakening as the option A does not indicate whether there were (or there were no) metalworkers in the expedition team.

Option B:
It could be the case that Ife got the brass jewelry from the Portuguese and then in turn sent to the Benins. But if the Portuguese did not have contact with the Ife (as mentioned in option B), then it cannot be the case that the Benins got the jewelry from the Portuguese (even indirectly).


Hi Sayantan , Can you please explain why C is wrong? i ws confused b/w B and C? C states that they did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques, which is required. So isnt it strenghthen that it cam from neighbour.?
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rakaisraka wrote:
sayantanc2k wrote:
megha_2709 wrote:

Hi,

Thank you for such a good explanation , however can you please elaborate more why A is incorrect. Are we not strengthening the argument by sayin that Portuguese did not even had metal workers when they came to Benin and isn't B little out of scope? Please help

Regards
Megha


If A were as follows, then it would be strengthening:
"The Portuguese records indicate that their expedition of 1485 did not include metalworkers.".
The current construction of A is neither strengthening nor weakening as the option A does not indicate whether there were (or there were no) metalworkers in the expedition team.

Option B:
It could be the case that Ife got the brass jewelry from the Portuguese and then in turn sent to the Benins. But if the Portuguese did not have contact with the Ife (as mentioned in option B), then it cannot be the case that the Benins got the jewelry from the Portuguese (even indirectly).


Hi Sayantan , Can you please explain why C is wrong? i ws confused b/w B and C? C states that they did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques, which is required. So isnt it strenghthen that it cam from neighbour.?


This is one important concept frequently used to trap candidates.
Premise; X
Conclusion: Y
Argument: X hence Y ( X---> Y)
The strengthening (or weakening) statement of this ARGUMENT (i.e. X---> Y) must strengthen (or weaken) the LINK between this argument, not the conclusion (Y) separately.

In the above example
X = Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife
Y = So it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese.

Please observe that option C strengthens Y in isolation. It has nothing to do with the argument X---> Y. Hence C is not correct.

(rakaisraka , if you have a query that you would like to address specifically to me, please send a link to your post in a PM so that I do not miss it.)
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Re: Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of [#permalink]
Conclusion : So it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portugese.
Premise for the above conclusion is Portuguese records of that expedition mentions cast brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighbouring Ife

A. The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers.( Wrong Answer : The very fact that portuguese records of that expedition do not indicate the presence of metalworkers in the expedition is not reason enough to believe that portugese did not brought the knowledge of brass casting along with them to Benin in the expedition.
B. The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.( Right Answer : This option negates the possibility that people of Ife would have learnt about brass casting from Portuguese in the 1400s.)
C. In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques.( Wrong Answer : This does not negate the possibility that the people of Benin after having learnt about brass casting from Portuguese in the 1400s manufactured them indigeniously)
D. As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans.( Wrong Answer : This options does not throw any light upon when the people of Benin would have learnt the process of Brass casting)
E. Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory.(Wrong Answer : This option does not throw any light upon when the people of Benin would have learnt the process of Brass Casting.)
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Re: QOTD:Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a [#permalink]
The answer is B

Let's break it down logically: the claim is that since bronze casting came to Benin from the Ife, it did not derive from the Portuguese. This is true, if we assume that the Ice did not themselves get it from the Portuguese. Thus, the argument is great strengthened if it is true that (B) The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.


Another way to solve is by process of elimination:

(A) The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers. if they indicated that there were no metalworkers, this would indeed strengthen - but just not indicating doesn't help much


(C) In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques.if we knew they didn't cast brass at all this would strengthen, but merely that they didn't use it for this purpose doesn't mean that people in Benin didn't;t adopt it for this reason

(D) As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans. this weakens the argument somewhat, as it suggests a connection between brass plates and the Eurpoeans for people in Benin

(E) Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory. irrelevant - the question is where they learned the technique
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Re: Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of [#permalink]
(A) The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers.
not necessarily metal workers only can do it.
even if above is true, not mentioning abt metal workers opens the floor to debate

(B) The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.
there is no way, ife taught port!!. hence there is no way, port had know

(C) In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques.
use of plaques is irrelevant

(D) As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans.
again same as above

(E) Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory.
even if found, casting knowledge are different topics.
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GMATNinja wrote:
[*]However, "Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife." - When the Portuguese first showed up, Benin already had cast-brass jewelry from Ife. This means that Benin had already been introduced to cast-brass prior to the arrival of the Portugal. This evidence seems to hurt the hypothesis of some scholars. The author thus concludes that Benin's knowledge of brass casting probably did not derive from (or "originate from") the Portuguese.[/list]

Quote:
(B) The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

The evidence tells us that Benin had cast-brass objects from Ife before they encountered the Portuguese. This suggests that the people of Benin may have learned about cast-brass from Ife, not from the Portuguese.

But what if the people of Ife learned about brass casting from the Portuguese? In that case, any knowledge about brass casting transferred from Ife to Benin actually originated (or derived) from the Portuguese. In other words, if the Portuguese taught the people of Ife about brass casting and then the people of Ife taught the people of Benin about brass casting, then Benin's knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese (even though it was not transferred directly from the Portuguese to Benin).

This would obviously hurt the argument. Choice (B) eliminates this possibility and thus strengthens the argument. Hang on to (B).



Hi GMATNinja

Thanks for the wonderful and detailed explanation. I have one doubt.

STIMULUS - But Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife.

Option B - The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

Isn't this a contradiction - i.e. How could Portuguese sent cast-brass jewelry to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife in 1485 A.D. WITHOUT having no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

Kindly clarify!
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CAMANISHPARMAR wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:
[*]However, "Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife." - When the Portuguese first showed up, Benin already had cast-brass jewelry from Ife. This means that Benin had already been introduced to cast-brass prior to the arrival of the Portugal. This evidence seems to hurt the hypothesis of some scholars. The author thus concludes that Benin's knowledge of brass casting probably did not derive from (or "originate from") the Portuguese.[/list]

Quote:
(B) The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

The evidence tells us that Benin had cast-brass objects from Ife before they encountered the Portuguese. This suggests that the people of Benin may have learned about cast-brass from Ife, not from the Portuguese.

But what if the people of Ife learned about brass casting from the Portuguese? In that case, any knowledge about brass casting transferred from Ife to Benin actually originated (or derived) from the Portuguese. In other words, if the Portuguese taught the people of Ife about brass casting and then the people of Ife taught the people of Benin about brass casting, then Benin's knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese (even though it was not transferred directly from the Portuguese to Benin).

This would obviously hurt the argument. Choice (B) eliminates this possibility and thus strengthens the argument. Hang on to (B).



Hi GMATNinja

Thanks for the wonderful and detailed explanation. I have one doubt.

STIMULUS - But Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife.

Option B - The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

Isn't this a contradiction - i.e. How could Portuguese sent cast-brass jewelry to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife in 1485 A.D. WITHOUT having no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

Kindly clarify!

The passage tells us that Portuguese records mention that cast-brass jewelry was sent to Benin's king from Ife. In other words, some piece of Portuguese paper says that someone in Ife sent cast-brass jewelry to the king of Benin.

Nothing in the passage indicates direct contact between Portuguese people and Ife. The records are only observations made by the Portuguese. And choice (B) confirms the absence of the Portuguese from this entire transaction between Ife and Benin. That's why (B) is such a good strengthener.
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Re: Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of [#permalink]
AbdurRakib wrote:
Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of the Benin culture of West Africa. Some scholars, noting that the oldest surviving plaques date to the 1400s, hypothesize that brass-casting techniques were introduced by the Portuguese, who came to Benin in 1485 A.D. But Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife. So it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese.

Which of the following, if true, most strengthens the argument?


(A) The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers.

(B) The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

(C) In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques.

(D) As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans.

(E) Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory.


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Argument:
Specific brass monuments found in Benin seem to be from the 1400s. Portuguese were there in 1485, so it could be they introduced these techniques. But, Portuguese records say Benin got these brass casting techniques from Ife. So, Benin did not get brass casting knowledge from Portuguese.

The argument does not seem to have any logical jumps. So, to strengthen this conclusion, think about possible objections to this argument and then we take scenarios that these objections don't exist. Possible objections:

What if the Portuguese records are incorrect? or, What if there were other historical records mentioning that Benin got these techniques from Portuguese before Ife sent them? ->No other records exist prior to these that show evidence that Portuguese shared brass making knowledge with Benin.(Assumption 1)

What if Ife learned these techniques from the Portuguese? In that case, the original source of knowledge would still be Portuguese. -> Ife did not learn brass casting techniques from Portuguese(Assumption 2)

We could look for strengtheners along the line of these assumptions.

(A) The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers. Including metalworkers or not gives us no information on whether the brass casting knowledge was shared.

(B) The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s. This means Portuguese could not have transferred the brass casting knowledge to Ife before 1500. In line with Assumption 2

(C) In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques. This has no impact on the argument whether Benin got this knowledge from Portuguese. If the Portuguese did not build these fancy monuments, still they had the knowledge of brass casting techniques and could have transferred it to Benin.
(d)As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans. Again, no impact has this does not tell us about the source of knowledge. Just tells us what they used the knowledge for.
(e) Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory. Again, no impact has this does not tell us about the source of techniques.
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Re: Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of [#permalink]
sayantanc2k wrote:
megha_2709 wrote:
Nightfury14 wrote:
Premise:
1. Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of the Benin culture of West Africa.
2. Some scholars, noting that the oldest surviving plaques date to the 1400s, hypothesize that brass-casting techniques were introduced by the Portuguese, who came to Benin in 1485 A.D.
3. But Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife.

Conclusion: So it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese.

Question Type :
Strengthens, New information can be added.
Prephase: Benin’s knowledge of brass casting was not derived from the Portuguese. So look for answer choice that keep the Portuguese at bay with respect to Brass-casting

A. The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers. - A neutral ans. Does not strengthen -will keep if none other match.
B. The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s. - Plaques date to the 1400s, Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife. but portuguese had no contact with Ife untill 1500s, hence Ife had their own set of skills of casting plaques.
C. In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques. - A good contender - But Protuguese did not use cast brass plaques does not mean they could not have shared the knowledge - Incorrect
D. As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans. - Benin artists may have used the knowledge acquired from portuguese to make the plaques.
E. Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory. - Not relevant to the subject.



Hi,

Thank you for such a good explanation , however can you please elaborate more why A is incorrect. Are we not strengthening the argument by sayin that Portuguese did not even had metal workers when they came to Benin and isn't B little out of scope? Please help

Regards
Megha


If A were as follows, then it would be strengthening:
"The Portuguese records indicate that their expedition of 1485 did not include metalworkers.".
The current construction of A is neither strengthening nor weakening as the option A does not indicate whether there were (or there were no) metalworkers in the expedition team.

Option B:
It could be the case that Ife got the brass jewelry from the Portuguese and then in turn sent to the Benins. But if the Portuguese did not have contact with the Ife (as mentioned in option B), then it cannot be the case that the Benins got the jewelry from the Portuguese (even indirectly).




But here the conclusion is about receiving the knowledge of casting brass. Even if Portuguese had not contact with Ife and Ife gifted the Jewelry to Benins, Still Portuguese could have separately taught them the art of casting. We have considered the matching situation while eliminating option C, that not using the brass casting technique doesn't means they doesn't know it.

please comment on my thought related to option B.
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NorickHill wrote:
sayantanc2k wrote:
megha_2709 wrote:
Nightfury14 wrote:
Premise:
1. Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of the Benin culture of West Africa.
2. Some scholars, noting that the oldest surviving plaques date to the 1400s, hypothesize that brass-casting techniques were introduced by the Portuguese, who came to Benin in 1485 A.D.
3. But Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife.

Conclusion: So it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese.

Question Type :
Strengthens, New information can be added.
Prephase: Benin’s knowledge of brass casting was not derived from the Portuguese. So look for answer choice that keep the Portuguese at bay with respect to Brass-casting

A. The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers. - A neutral ans. Does not strengthen -will keep if none other match.
B. The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s. - Plaques date to the 1400s, Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife. but portuguese had no contact with Ife untill 1500s, hence Ife had their own set of skills of casting plaques.
C. In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques. - A good contender - But Protuguese did not use cast brass plaques does not mean they could not have shared the knowledge - Incorrect
D. As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans. - Benin artists may have used the knowledge acquired from portuguese to make the plaques.
E. Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory. - Not relevant to the subject.



Hi,

Thank you for such a good explanation , however can you please elaborate more why A is incorrect. Are we not strengthening the argument by sayin that Portuguese did not even had metal workers when they came to Benin and isn't B little out of scope? Please help

Regards
Megha


If A were as follows, then it would be strengthening:
"The Portuguese records indicate that their expedition of 1485 did not include metalworkers.".
The current construction of A is neither strengthening nor weakening as the option A does not indicate whether there were (or there were no) metalworkers in the expedition team.

Option B:
It could be the case that Ife got the brass jewelry from the Portuguese and then in turn sent to the Benins. But if the Portuguese did not have contact with the Ife (as mentioned in option B), then it cannot be the case that the Benins got the jewelry from the Portuguese (even indirectly).




But here the conclusion is about receiving the knowledge of casting brass. Even if Portuguese had not contact with Ife and Ife gifted the Jewelry to Benins, Still Portuguese could have separately taught them the art of casting. We have considered the matching situation while eliminating option C, that not using the brass casting technique doesn't means they doesn't know it.

please comment on my thought related to option B.

The author concludes that "it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese."

He/she supports this conclusion with records from the first Portuguese expedition to Benin in 1485. These records mention that brass plaques had been sent to Benin from the neighboring Ife -- indicating that brass casting techniques were ALREADY present in West Africa by 1485.

But wait, what if the people of Ife learned about brass casting from the Portuguese? In that case, any knowledge about brass casting transferred from Ife to Benin actually originated (or derived) from the Portuguese. In other words, if the Portuguese taught the people of Ife about brass casting and then the people of Ife taught the people of Benin about brass casting, then Benin's knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese (even though it was not transferred directly from the Portuguese to Benin).

(B) tells us that this didn't happen. By closing that loophole, (B) strengthens the force of the evidence that the author uses to support his/her argument.

(C), on the other hand, has no impact on the argument at all. We don't care how the Portuguese used cast brass. Even if the Portuguese did not make cast brass commemorative plaques, they still could have taught the people of Benin how to cast brass. So (C) does not strengthen the argument and can be eliminated.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of [#permalink]
GMATNinja wrote:
The author concludes that "it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese." Since we need to strengthen the argument, let's make sure we understand the author's logic:

  • "Commemorative plaques cast from brass are a characteristic art form of the Benin culture of West Africa." - This background information tells us that cast-brass plaques are a typical form of art in Benin culture.
  • "The oldest surviving plaques date to the 1400s." - These plaques have been a part of Benin culture since at least the 1400s (maybe earlier).
  • "Some scholars hypothesize that brass-casting techniques were introduced by the Portuguese, who came to Benin in 1485 A.D." - How did the people of Benin learn brass-casting techniques? Perhaps from the Portuguese. This hypothesis is consistent with the date evidence (the earliest known plaques date to the 1400s, and the Portuguese came to Benin in the 1400s).
  • However, "Portuguese records of that expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin’s king from neighboring Ife." - When the Portuguese first showed up, Benin already had cast-brass jewelry from Ife. This means that Benin had already been introduced to cast-brass prior to the arrival of the Portugal. This evidence seems to hurt the hypothesis of some scholars. The author thus concludes that Benin's knowledge of brass casting probably did not derive from (or "originate from") the Portuguese.

We need something that strengthens the author's argument (not the scholar's hypothesis):

Quote:
(A) The Portuguese records do not indicate whether their expedition of 1485 included metalworkers.

Notice that (A) does NOT say, "Portuguese records indicate that the expedition did not include metalworkers." (A) says that the records don't indicate either way. So perhaps the expedition included metalworkers and perhaps it did not. Although this leaves open the possibility that the expedition did not include metalworkers, the evidence in (A) is not very strong. Let's look for something better.

Quote:
(B) The Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s.

The evidence tells us that Benin had cast-brass objects from Ife before they encountered the Portuguese. This suggests that the people of Benin may have learned about cast-brass from Ife, not from the Portuguese.

But what if the people of Ife learned about brass casting from the Portuguese? In that case, any knowledge about brass casting transferred from Ife to Benin actually originated (or derived) from the Portuguese. In other words, if the Portuguese taught the people of Ife about brass casting and then the people of Ife taught the people of Benin about brass casting, then Benin's knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese (even though it was not transferred directly from the Portuguese to Benin).

This would obviously hurt the argument. Choice (B) eliminates this possibility and thus strengthens the argument. Hang on to (B).

Quote:
(C) In the 1400s the Portuguese did not use cast brass for commemorative plaques.

All that matters is that the Portuguese knew how to cast brass. We don't care how the Portuguese used cast brass. Even if the Portuguese did not make cast brass commemorative plaques, they still could have taught the people of Benin how to cast brass. Thus, (C) does not strengthen the argument and can be eliminated.

Quote:
(D) As early as 1500 A.D., Benin artists were making brass plaques incorporating depictions of Europeans.

This statement doesn't tell us anything about the origin of the artists' knowledge of brass casting. This statement could be true whether their knowledge derived from the Portuguese or from the people of Ife. Thus, (D) can be eliminated.

Quote:
(E) Copper, which is required for making brass, can be found throughout Benin territory.

This simply tells us that Benin had one of the materials needed to make brass. As with (D), this doesn't tell us anything about the origin of the artists' knowledge of brass casting. Eliminate (E).

(B) is the best answer.


Hi GMATNinja AndrewN

In option B, even if Ife derived the knowledge from Portuguese, who in turn taught Benin, this is in inline with the conclusion. It doesn't matter whether it came directly from Portuguese or not, per the conclusion. So having a contact or no contact should have no effect.
Can you plz. explain.
This would have been correct, if the conclusion would have mentioned that knowledge came "DIRECTLY" from Ife. As far as the conclusion is concerned here, coming directly or indirectly should not matter, all that it states - "To Benin it came from Ife".
If the option would have reduced the possibility of this knowledge going to Benin without involving Ife, then this option would have been correct.

What is wrong in my thinking?
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shanks2020 wrote:
Hi GMATNinja AndrewN

In option B, even if Ife derived the knowledge from Portuguese, who in turn taught Benin, this is in inline with the conclusion. It doesn't matter whether it came directly from Portuguese or not, per the conclusion. So having a contact or no contact should have no effect.
Can you plz. explain.
This would have been correct, if the conclusion would have mentioned that knowledge came "DIRECTLY" from Ife. As far as the conclusion is concerned here, coming directly or indirectly should not matter, all that it states - "To Benin it came from Ife".
If the option would have reduced the possibility of this knowledge going to Benin without involving Ife, then this option would have been correct.

What is wrong in my thinking?

Hello, shanks2020. I think your approach here is overwrought, that Portuguese influence is what needs to be considered here, and influence can be indirect. (Sorry, I could not help dropping in a metallurgical pun.) To be clear, the conclusion that Benin is unlikely to have derived its knowledge of brass casting from the Portuguese is based on the premise that Portuguese records from a 1485 expedition mention cast-brass jewelry sent to Benin's king from neighboring Ife. Since we are tasked with most strengthening the argument, we need to consider this premise. You might wonder why I underlined most just now. I think it is important to consider that you are not looking for an ironclad truth (I am on a roll now, so why stop) to strengthen the argument, just some piece of information that increases the probability that the conclusion is accurate for the reason provided. Here, if the Portuguese had in some way influenced the brass-casting knowledge of metalworkers from Ife, then the conclusion would fall apart. The correct answer, then, should best dispel this notion.

Looking at (B), if the Portuguese had no contact with Ife until the 1500s, then it would seem reasonable to suggest that Ife metalworkers had produced the cast-brass jewelry gifted to the king of Benin in 1485 without techniques that were introduced by the Portuguese and, further, that Ife's knowledge of brass casting was a likely candidate for shaping Benin's knowledge of brass casting. Is it possible that the people of Ife had come across Portuguese brass casting techniques in some other way, perhaps through indirect trade or through writings, prior to the 1485 Portuguese expedition to Benin? Sure, but it is less likely than the alternative, that that cast-brass jewelry was produced by any other means, given the timeline, and that this knowledge was in turn passed on to Benin. Of the five answer choices presented, (B) is the only one that provides a satisfactory option. Was there something else that you thought sounded more reasonable?

Thank you for thinking to ask me about the question. I hope that helps.

- Andrew
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One of those official questions that I find clearly unconvincing:

We want to know where the knowledge came from.

P = Portuguese
I = Ife
B = Benin

When the P arrived, B had jewelry from I. That doesnt tell us much about from where B eventually got their knowledge. We know that I had this knowledge because I had sent ready-made pieces of jewelry to B.

The P noticed this jewelry and taught B the technique of brass casting, a technique the P also knew.

In 1500, the P had contact with I and gave them one hell of a scolding for not teaching B how to cast brass.

Conclusion: That P did not have any contact with I until 1500 doesnt strengthen anything about from where B got their knowledge.


GMATNinja wrote:
But what if the people of Ife learned about brass casting from the Portuguese? In that case, any knowledge about brass casting transferred from Ife to Benin actually originated (or derived) from the Portuguese. In other words, if the Portuguese taught the people of Ife about brass casting and then the people of Ife taught the people of Benin about brass casting, then Benin's knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese (even though it was not transferred directly from the Portuguese to Benin).


I cant agree with you here. Any knowledge about brass casting must not have been transferred from Ife to Benin. What if Ife did not at all teach Benin about this technique, but only sent ready-made jewelry? The prompt gives us nothing that indicates that Benin got any kind of knowledge from Ife.

Edit: Some hours later...

Ive been pondering on this. I think I get the reasoning now, but I also think its far-fetched. You mean that B could have learnt this either from Ife or from Portuguese. To strengthen that the knowledge comes from Ife, we want to rule out the possibility that the Portuguese have first educated Ife and that Ife then educated Benin, because this possibility is seen as if the knowledge arrived in Benin through the portuguese.

This is exceptionally far-fetched and if this is the line of reasoning that is given in the official explanation, GMAC does not comply with airtight logic here. The only thing we want to strengthen is the fact that Benin could not have been directly educated by the portugese, but rather directly educated by Ife, no matter how Ife got this knowledge. I mean, we are not asked to strengthen whether the knowledge first arrived at the continent as a whole when the portuguese came.

Or, more likely I guess, I have not paid enough attention to the subtlety of the word "derive". I can see now how this word may imply that the knowledge may have derived from the portuguese even if by a detour.
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Bambi2021 wrote:
One of those official questions that I find clearly unconvincing:

We want to know where the knowledge came from.

P = Portuguese
I = Ife
B = Benin

When the P arrived, B had jewelry from I. That doesnt tell us much about from where B eventually got their knowledge. We know that I had this knowledge because I had sent ready-made pieces of jewelry to B.

The P noticed this jewelry and taught B the technique of brass casting, a technique the P also knew.

In 1500, the P had contact with I and gave them one hell of a scolding for not teaching B how to cast brass.

Conclusion: That P did not have any contact with I until 1500 doesnt strengthen anything about from where B got their knowledge.


GMATNinja wrote:
But what if the people of Ife learned about brass casting from the Portuguese? In that case, any knowledge about brass casting transferred from Ife to Benin actually originated (or derived) from the Portuguese. In other words, if the Portuguese taught the people of Ife about brass casting and then the people of Ife taught the people of Benin about brass casting, then Benin's knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese (even though it was not transferred directly from the Portuguese to Benin).


I cant agree with you here. Any knowledge about brass casting must not have been transferred from Ife to Benin. What if Ife did not at all teach Benin about this technique, but only sent ready-made jewelry? The prompt gives us nothing that indicates that Benin got any kind of knowledge from Ife.

Edit: Some hours later...

Ive been pondering on this. I think I get the reasoning now, but I also think its far-fetched. You mean that B could have learnt this either from Ife or from Portuguese. To strengthen that the knowledge comes from Ife, we want to rule out the possibility that the Portuguese have first educated Ife and that Ife then educated Benin, because this possibility is seen as if the knowledge arrived in Benin through the portuguese.

This is exceptionally far-fetched and if this is the line of reasoning that is given in the official explanation, GMAC does not comply with airtight logic here. The only thing we want to strengthen is the fact that Benin could not have been directly educated by the portugese, but rather directly educated by Ife, no matter how Ife got this knowledge. I mean, we are not asked to strengthen whether the knowledge first arrived at the continent as a whole when the portuguese came.

Or, more likely I guess, I have not paid enough attention to the subtlety of the word "derive". I can see now how this word may imply that the knowledge may have derived from the portuguese even if by a detour.

You're on the right track with the subtleties of the word "derive" -- if the Portuguese gave the knowledge to the Ife, who who turn gave it to Benin, then Benin's knowledge did indeed derive from the Portuguese. (B) tells us that this didn't happen, and so strengthens the conclusion that "it is unlikely that Benin’s knowledge of brass casting derived from the Portuguese."

Remember that we're asked which answer choice "most strengthens" the argument. So, we're just looking for the option that strengthens the argument more than the other options, NOT an option that proves the conclusion to be 100% true.

(B) does exactly what it needs to do -- by eliminating an explanation for the evidence provided, it makes it more likely that the author is correct. None of the other options provided any support for the author's argument, so (B) is the clear winner.

I hope that helps!
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