BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany plans to introduce artifacts to return to Nigeria from Benin next year. According to the German foreign ministers, this is part of a growing trend of returning looted cultural artifacts during the colonial era to their original places.
During an operation in the Benin Empire in 1897, thousands of metal molds and carvings were seized from British troops and then separated from Nigeria under British control.
“Bronze” – actually sculptures made of copper alloys, many of which depict court figures – were auctioned and ubiquitous among institutions from New Zealand to Germany and the United States. The largest group is in London.
“In addition to maximum transparency, we primarily want to get enough funding,” it said in a joint statement with the Federal Chancellory and Museums on Thursday evening.
“We want to contribute to creating a common understanding and harmony with the descendants of those deprived of their cultural treasures during the colonial era,” Grooters said.
The Ethnographic Museum collection in Berlin contains more than 500 historical artifacts from the Benin Empire, most of which are in bronze.
The University of Aberdeen of Scotland announced last month that it would bring back the bronze medal from Benin to Nigeria within a few weeks and is one of the first public institutions to do so.
(Written by Maria Sheehan)
((Translation from São Paulo, 55 11 56447505) Reuters MPP
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