These sculptures are found in museums and private collections around the world. They are extensive, made of bronze, brass, ivory and wood, and represent animals, objects, and people, often associated with royal regalia.
Most of them are outside the country where they were made. The so-called Benin Bronzes were manufactured in the Kingdom of Benin from the 14th to the 19th century and were first used in ceremonies, wall decorations and parts of altars. The Historical Empire should not be confused with the modern nation of the same name, but was a territory in Nigeria today.
The Kingdom’s control of the palm oil and rubber trade put the country on a campaign against Britain, sending an invading force to the capital, Benin, in 1897. The city was burned to the ground and looted thousands of objects of historical, religious and artistic significance, including the bronze of Benin.
When the country was occupied The artwork has spread around the world and is now available in museums and private collectors in Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. Here in Sweden, the Ethnographic Museum has a small collection at its disposal. However, with its nine hundred penny bronzes, the British Museum is by far the largest.
Since Nigeria gained independence, withdrawal demands have been routine. For example, in 1977, the country asked for the return of an ivory mask, One of the most beautiful stolen items, to celebrate Festock ’77, the best African art and culture festival. The British Museum refused on the grounds that the mask was too fragile, while the Nigerian media reported that the Nigerian media had demanded three million dollars in compensation.
Nigeria not only recovered pre-colonial treasures from a Western colony, but responded by laying down constructive arguments as to why they should be retained. Descriptions from countries cover everything from being able to stay in cities like New York, London and Berlin without being able to take care of the goods in an adequate way for more people to see them.
Traditionally, there has been debate It raises the question of the natural consequence of why there are objects in the Western world because of the difficulty of revenue for American and European museums. That question cannot be answered without confronting the atrocities that took place in the name of colonialism.
Under pressure, some Western museums have agreed to donate material for a limited time, which, surprisingly, did not appeal to critics. However, now that is about to change. In 2018, a French report estimated it More than 90 percent of Africa’s cultural heritage is found on the continent, And recommended the unethical return of all goods purchased by France.
In the autumn, the French National Assembly voted to permanently return a small item to its former African colonies. This year, Senegal will return the sword of the 19th century, while at the same time returning 27 items stolen from Tahomi, part of Benin.
The scoundrels see this together China is the way for France to gain points in more and more influential countries. After all, objects make up only a fraction of the 90,000 African monuments found in France. This is very promising as a sign of the change that is taking place.
It is clear that France is not alone. There are the last two months University of Aberdeen, Scotland And the Humboldt Museum of Art in Berlin Promised to return their Benin bronzes. We are still far from fully reclaiming the African cultural heritage, and there is much debate about re-balancing. But the results add to the pressure on museums that have hitherto been dull in the face of this idea.
read more Chronicles by Amat Levine. For example, if Judgment against Derek Suu Kyi.