April 13, 2021

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England to repatriate part of Benin bronze looted during colonial times to Nigeria

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Representatives from the University of Aberdeen (UK) have promised to return their bronze collection from Benin to Nigeria within a few weeks. It will be a small part of thousands of metal and ivory sculptures looted by British colonial powers in 1897, which will then be auctioned off to collectors and museums.

This is an ancient sculpture Benin Oba (King), An ancient sub-Saharan city located in Nigeria today. The university acquired the bronze sculpture in 1957, and still calls it “a wonderful example of late Benign art.”

The Phoenician bronzes were highly acclaimed for African culture and tribal art by 19th century colonial powers. Created by the people of Edos From the 13th century, Is a set created More than 1,000 piecesMonuments from the Royal Palace of the Kingdom of Benin.

In 1897, Admiral Harry Holdworth Rawson led a convoy of voyages to London. The city of Benin was looted and completely destroyed. After the British conquest, conquerors carried works of art that adorned the centuries-old royal palace and noble residences.

Nigeria is trying to return its treasures

Neil Curtis, Says the director of the Aberdeen Museums, after a recent study of this artwork, it was discovered that it was purchased in a “very immoral” way. So, as they progress, it will be returned “unconditionally”. Author Father Isa DijaniThe Director General of the National Museum and Monuments Authority of Nigeria has pointed out the importance of exhibiting these bronze pieces within the country, for the first time in more than 120 years.

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“This is part of our identity, part of our heritage that has been taken from us over the years,” says Isa Dijani, quoted by Reuters.

In recent times, there has been increasing pressure to repatriate these and other items stolen by Nigerian colonial powers. Officials in the country plan to build a new museum by 2024, where precious bronzes and historical and cultural treasures from the African nation will be on display.

Treasures that everyone wants: The struggle to restore the original heritage of nations

In December 2020, the University of Cambridge finalized the process of returning another portion. In addition to the UK, Germany is in talks to return 440 pieces of Benin bronze. American museums agreed to return two more bronzes.