Horniman Museum will repatriate Benin bronzes to Nigeria

horniman museum will repatriate benin bronzes to nigeria
horniman museum will repatriate benin bronzes to nigeria

Looted from Benin City in 1897, the Horniman Museum in London said on Sunday that it would return to Nigeria 72 artefacts, including 12 bronze plaques known as Benin Bronzes.

The Benin Bronzes are some of Africa’s most important cultural artefacts, made from brass and bronze in the Kingdom of Benin in what is now southwestern Nigeria.

Horniman Museum will repatriate Benin bronzes to Nigeria

When the British forces invaded, they took hundreds of artefacts with them, and many of them ended up in museums across Europe and the United States.

Years of struggle by African governments to reclaim works looted by European and American settlers have given way to Western organisations attempting to deal with the cultural legacy of colonial rule.

The first of more than 1,100 magnificent statues returned to Nigeria by German authorities last month, following in the footsteps of Jesus College at Cambridge University and the Quai Branly museum in Paris.

According to the Horniman, the NCMM had requested that the artefacts be returned at the beginning of this year.

Horniman Museum will repatriate Benin bronzes to Nigeria

According to Horniman Museum and Gardens Trustee Eve Salomon: “The evidence is extremely clear that these artefacts were acquired through force, and external consultation reinforced our conclusion that it is both moral and right to return their ownership to Nigeria.

With this move, “The Horniman is delighted and we look forward to collaborating with the NCMM in order to secure long-term care for this collection of treasured objects,” the museum said in a statement.

Mr. Tijani expressed his appreciation for the decision, stating he was eager to explore financing agreements and collaborations with the Horniman.

The British Museum in London, which has the world’s largest and most important collection of Benin Bronzes, is set to feel the heat from the returns.

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