After nearly 130 years, France will return 26 looted artifacts back to the West African country of Benin.
According to Africa News, the items were stolen from Benin during the colonization wars over a century ago. These pieces, also known as the “Abomey Treasures,” consist of a royal throne, three wooden anthropomorphic statues, and four doors from the Abomey palace. This collection, along with others, was exhibited at the Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac museum in Paris.
Calixte Biah, a curator of Ouidah Museum of History, stated the following:
“These art pieces are of essential importance for Benin. It has been more than a century that these pieces have been removed from their historical context. (…)These artefacts are returning to the country today, it’s just historical for the people of Benin.”
Many in Benin are excited about the return. Abdoulaye Imorou, the manager of the museum that the returned artifacts will be displayed, advised the following:
“If I take the statue of Glèlè and Ghézo, they were not in our collections. It will be a plus. I am happy to welcome them. It piques our interest more, as well as these big ceremonial thrones that we had never seen before. It will add more to our collection.”
I hope these long-overdue returns continue throughout the continent. The rape/exploitation of Africa has been and, unfortunately, continue to be justified. But a new era is emerging, so time shall tell.
Until Next Time…
Photo Credit: PRI
Paris museum exhibits Benin’s treasures for the last time. Africa News. (2021, October 27). Retrieved October 27, 2021, from https://www.africanews.com/2021/10/27/paris-museum-exhibits-benin-s-treasures-for-the-last-time//.