London’s Horniman Museum Will Return Stolen Benin Bronzes to Nigeria

Benin plaque
A
plaque
depicting
a
war
chief
and
a
royal
military
priest
carrying
a
leather
gift
box

Horniman
Museum
and
Gardens

London’s

Horniman
Museum


announced

that
it
will
return
72
artifacts
to
Nigeria
that
British
troops
looted
in
the
19th
century. 

According
to
Josh
Halliday
of
the


Guardian
,
the
announcement
marks
the
first
time
that
a
government-funded
institution
in
Britain
has
agreed
to
relinquish
treasures
that
were
looted
in
1897—despite
years-long

debate

over
these
artifacts’
ownership. 

Among
the
objects
marked
for
repatriation
are
a
brass
altar
piece,
ivory
and
brass
ceremonial
objects,
“everyday
items”
like
fans
and
baskets,
and
12
brass
plaques
that
belong
to
the
group
of
artworks
known
as
the
“Benin
bronzes.” 

The
Benin
bronzes
were
made
in
the

Kingdom
of
Benin
,
which
is
now
in
Nigeria.
Despite
their
name,
they
include
artifacts
made
from
a

range
of
materials
,
like
ivory,
leather
and
wood;
the
most
well
known
examples
are
the
brass
plaques
that
once
adorned
the
royal
palace
in
Benin
City,
the
kingdom’s
capital. 

In
1897,
British
forces

raided

Benin
City
and
stole

upwards
of
3,000
objects
.
Some
of
these
precious
artifacts
were
awarded
to
acting
officers,
while
others
were
sold
at
auction
or
given
to
museums.

“The
evidence
is
very
clear
that
these
objects
were
acquired
through
force,”
says
​​Eve
Salomon,
chair
of
the
Horniman
museum,
in
a

statement
,
“and
external
consultation
supported
our
view
that
it
is
both
moral
and
appropriate
to
return
their
ownership
to
Nigeria.” 

Nigeria’s

National
Commission
for
Museums
and
Monuments

requested
the
return
of
the
objects
in
January,
prompting
the
Horniman
to
begin
“detailed
research.”
The
institution
also
consulted
with
museum
visitors,
experts,
academics,
artists
and
schoolchildren
in
both
the
United
Kingdom
and
Nigeria,
per
the
statement.

Today,
relics
of
the
once-great
kingdom
can
be
found
in
museums
and
private
collections
around
the
world.
The
British
Museum
alone
still
counts

900
objects

from
Benin
among
its
collections,
despite
calls
to
return
them.

With
the
repatriation
announcement
from
the
Horniman,
the
British
Museum
will
face
“renewed
pressure
to
return
items,”
writes
Robbie
Griffiths
of
the


Evening
Standard

Nigeria
has
been
asking
for
the
artifacts
to
be

returned

for
decades.
The
push
for
repatriation
intensified
in
recent
years,
with
“protests
and
policy
changes”
prompting
some
institutions
to
take
action,
wrote
the


Washington
Post
’s
Peggy
McGlone
earlier
this
year.
In
June,
for
example,
the
Smithsonian

voted

to
return
29
Benin
bronzes
held
in
the

National
Museum
of
African
Art
.
The
following
month,
Germany
and
Nigeria

signed
a
restitution
agreement

transferring
ownership
of
more
than
1,000
artifacts
to
Nigeria. 

British
institutions
have
been
“slower
to
respond,”
writes
Danica
Kirka
of
the

Associated
Press

(AP),
but
the
tide
may
be
shifting.
Just
last
week,
Oxford
University
took
steps
toward
the
return
of

some
200
objects

that
were
looted
from
Benin. 

Discussions
about
the
formal
transfer
of
the
Horniman’s
Benin
artifacts
will
now
begin,
according
to
the
museum.
The
Nigerian
government
plans
to
house
the
objects
in
the

Edo
Museum
of
West
African
Art
,
which
is
scheduled
to
open
in
2025.

Artikel ini diambil dari https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/london-horniman-museum-return-stolen-benin-bronzes-nigeria-180980541/

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