Germany to Return Queen Mother Idia Art, Others to Nigeria

December 13, 2022
Queen Mother Idia Art

By Adedapo Adesanya

Germany’s Ministry of Science has revealed that scores of art pieces from the former Kingdom of Benin would be officially repatriated to Nigeria by the German government on Wednesday, December 14.

The reinstatement comprises 70 artefacts which, up until now, have been in the Linden Museum in Stuttgart but were looted from the Benin palace by the British during colonial times.

There have been efforts in recent years to repatriate the Benin bronzes from Britain and Germany.

The Benin Bronzes are a group of several thousand valuable metal plaques and sculptures which decorated the palace in the Kingdom of Benin, now the Edo State in Nigeria.

Around 1,100 of the Benin collection can be found in around 20 German museums, including 78 in the Linden Museum alone.

About one-third of the objects will remain on loan in the museum, said the ministry.

The museum, in a statement, committed to the restitution made recently.

At the signing of the repatriation agreement, Germany’s Science Minister, Ms Petra Olschowski, plans to ceremonially hand over an ivory mask of Queen Mother Idia made in the 16th century.

The piece is of the highest symbolic value, the minister said. The rare mask was looted by British troops from the bed chamber of King Ovonramwen in 1897, according to the ministry.

The return of the Benin objects is about more than just returning art treasures, Ms Olschowski stressed, adding that, “They are part of the history of Benin and of today’s Nigeria. Their looting in 1897 from the palace of the Benin royal family symbolizes the deep injustice and colonial violence.”

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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