Made of bronze, brass and ivory, these sculptures, bas-reliefs and objects come from the royal palace of the former kingdom of Benin, located in present-day Nigeria.
Germany has around 1,100 Beninese objects – most of them looted by British troops in 1897 – in about 20 German museums, around half of which are housed in the Humboldt Forum’s ethnological museum in Berlin. The remaining 600 or so pieces are held in Stuttgart, Hamburg, Cologne and Dresden.
Most are expected to return to Africa soon. In the autumn of 2021, representatives from both parties in Lagos signed an agreement providing for the transfer of ownership rights to Nigeria. “The German government and people have taken a bold step in agreeing to return the artefacts voluntarily, and without too much pressure from Nigeria,” Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Nigerian minister of information and culture, said at the time.
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