Benin Bronzes: Germany to return looted artefacts to Nigeria

Benin-Bronzes_1-Getty-Images Thousands of sculptures and carvings were taken during the destruction of Benin City in present-day Nigeria

Germany has agreed to return to Nigeria priceless artefacts that were stolen during the colonisation of Africa.

British troops looted thousands of artworks known as the Benin Bronzes from the Kingdom of Benin, in present-day Nigeria, in 1897.

Following auctions, some of the bronzes ended up in museums and private collections across Europe.

They hold deep cultural significance, and there is growing international pressure to give them back.

 

Berlin's Ethnologisches Museum holds more than 500 artefacts from the Kingdom of Benin, most of them bronzes.

"We want to contribute to understanding and reconciliation with the descendants of those whose cultural treasures were stolen during colonisation,"

German Culture Minister Monika Gruetters said on Thursday, adding that the first returns were expected to take place in 2022.

Scotland's University of Aberdeen said last month it would repatriate a Benin bronze whose acquisition in 1957 at an auction it called "extremely immoral".

Last year, France approved the restitution of its collection of pillaged Benin Bronzes.

 

Hundreds of pieces are still held in the British Museum and several museums in the United States.

There are plans to house the returned artefacts in the forthcoming Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA). The project is a joint effort between the

 Nigeria-based Legacy Restoration Trust, the British Museum and architecture firm Adjaye Associates.

Historians say Benin City, formerly known as Edo, boasted earthen walls longer than the Great Wall of China.

It was also said to be one of the first cities with a form of street lighting.

 

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-56949003

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