According to a statement issued by the Nigerian Ministry of Information and Culture, headed by Alhaji Lai Muhammed, the return of the 1,130 items that make up the collection known as the Bronzes of Benin must be made unconditionally and in full.
Similarly, the document notes the need to conduct negotiations in the shortest possible time and without conditions, in order to usher in the course of a new era in the relations between the two countries, mediated by cultural diplomacy.
For their part, the German Minister of Culture, Monika Grotters, and the German Minister of Foreign Relations, Heiko Maas, expressed their willingness to return the looted artifacts to their rightful owners.
Upon their return to Nigerian territory, the metal plaques and sculptures that decorated the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin will be part of the collections of the new museum, whose construction work is progressing in the city of the same name, the state capital. Edo.
The items represent various manifestations of the art of that region, created by notable artists from the 13th to the 19th century, when they were looted by British occupiers during the Benin Expedition in 1897.
According to the statement, the Ethnological Museum in Berlin houses more than 400 bronze objects, while other entities in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States store hundreds of pieces.
Although known as Benin Bronze, the items come from a variety of materials, including copper, wood, ceramic, and ivory, cast using the lost-wax technique.
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