Ethiopian artifacts stolen by British troops 153 years ago are set to be returned to Ethiopia, according to Artnet.
Looted by British soldiers following the Battle of Maqdala in 1868, these artifacts include a handwritten Ethiopian religious text, a cross, priestly crown, imperial shield, and a talismanic scroll. A British nonprofit organization, the Scheherazade Foundation, purchased the items earlier this year and turned them over to the Ethiopian ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Founder of the Scheherazade Foundation Tahir Shah stated the following at a ceremony at London’s Athenaeum Club:
“We are deeply, deeply moved tonight to be handing back to Ethiopia a very small but incredibly significant part of a treasure that was taken by the British 153 years ago.”
“Our thinking is not to punish the British, but to heal old wounds.”
The looted items are expected to return after the formation of a new government under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on October 4, 2021. Ethiopia’s government is also invested in obtaining additional stolen Maqdala artifacts from the U.K., such as the remains of Prince Alemayehu at Windsor Chapel and the Tabot Arks of the Covenant at the British Museum.
Other African countries are fighting for the return of stolen treasures as well, which I’m excited to hear.
Until Next Time…
Photo Credit: Sheherazade Foundation
Cascone, S. (2021, September 10). Artifacts From the Battle of Maqdala Have Returned to Ethiopia in ‘the Most Significant Heritage Restitution’ in the Country’s History. Artnet. Retrieved October 2, 2021, from https://news.artnet.com/art-world/ethiopian-artifact-restitution-2007704.
Gershon, L. (2021, September 10). Looted Maqdala Treasures Returned to Ethiopia After 150 Years. Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved October 2, 2021, from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/british-foundation-returns-maqdala-treasures-looted-ethiopia-180978622/.