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Germany to start returning Benin Bronzes from 2022

GlobalApr 30, 2021 10:54
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BERLIN, April 30 (Reuters) - Germany aims to start returning
Benin Bronzes to Nigeria next year, its foreign and culture
ministries said, part of a growing trend to return cultural
artefacts seized during the colonial era to their places of
origin.
Britain's soldiers seized thousands of metal castings and
sculptures in 1897 during a raid on the Kingdom of Benin, then
separate from British-ruled Nigeria.
The "bronzes" - actually copper alloy relief sculptures,
many showing court figures - were auctioned off and then spread
among institutions from New Zealand to Germany and the United
States, with the biggest collection in London. "In addition to maximum transparency, we primarily aim for
substantial restitution," German Culture Minister Monika
Gruetters said in a joint statement issued with the foreign
ministry and German museums late on Thursday.
"We want to contribute to a common understanding and
reconciliation with the descendants of the people who were
robbed of their cultural treasures during the times of
colonialism," Gruetters added.
The Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin has more than 500
historical artefacts from the Kingdom of Benin in its
collections, mostly bronzes.
The University of Aberdeen in Scotland said last month it
would return a Benin Bronze to Nigeria within weeks, one of the
first public institutions to do so. The British Museum, which holds hundreds of the sculptures,
has alongside several other museums formed a Benin Dialogue
Group to discuss displaying them in Benin City, some officially
on loan.
Plans are underway in Nigeria's Edo state, of which Benin
City is the capital, to build a centre to store and study the
returned artefacts by the end of 2021, and a permanent museum by
2025.
The German ministries issued their statement in conjunction
with German museums that are part of the Benin Dialogue Group.

 

Germany to start returning Benin Bronzes from 2022
 

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Kingsley Ohaji Jul 28, 2021 12:25
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