The movement follows the direction of other countries that were returning looted monuments during the colonial era.
The pieces were removed from the Kingdom of Benin – present-day southwestern Nigeria – in 1897 by the British Army, which was controlling the area.
The paintings, with busts and sculptures dating back to the 16th and 18th centuries, decorated the royal palace in Benin and are in fact made of copper alloy – not bronze, as the name says.
The German Foreign Ministry and Culture issued a joint statement saying they called for “maximum transparency” in the repatriation process.
“We want to contribute to a common understanding and reconciliation with the descendants of people who were deprived of their cultural treasures during the colonial period,” the memo said.
The Museum of Ethnology in Berlin includes more than 500 historical artifacts from the Kingdom of Benin in its collections, most of them in bronze.
After the British were plundered, the sculptures were sold and spread to many institutions around the world – from New Zealand to the United States. The largest group is in London.
Last month, the University of Aberdeen in Scotland announced the return of a bronze object (Which illustrates this report) To Nigeria in the coming weeks.
At the end of 2020, France agreed to return 26 items looted in 1892 in the former Kingdom of Benin.
Nigeria wants to build a new museum to display the precious bronze pieces – the building is expected to be ready by the end of 2024 and at an estimated cost of € 3.4 million (approximately R $ 22 million).
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