BERLIN (AP) — Germany and Nigeria are preparing to sign an agreement in Berlin on Friday that will pave the way for the return of centuries-old sculptures known as the Benin Bronzes that were extracted from Africa in the 19th century and displayed in German and other museums. places.
Governments and museums in Europe and North America have increasingly sought to resolve ownership disputes over objects that were looted during colonial times.
A British colonial expedition stole the bas-relief bronzes along with a host of other treasures in 1897 from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin, in what is now southern Nigeria.
The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, an authority that oversees many of Berlin’s museums, announced last year that it was entering into formal negotiations to return pieces from its collection. Many of them date from the 16th to the 18th centuries.
The memorandum of understanding will be signed by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Culture Minister Claudia Roth, as well as Nigerian Culture Minister Lai Mohammed and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Zubairo. Dadaist.
Final details of the restitution have yet to be announced, but the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation says it hopes to keep some of the Bronzes on loan from Nigeria.
The Smithsonian has removed 10 Benin Bronze pieces from its National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, and announced a new ethical return policy this year. Other US museums have also started discussions about returning such objects, while France declared last year that it would return the so-called Abomey Treasures to Benin as part of a broader effort to redress colonial wrongs.
Many of the objects remain at the British Museum, which has resisted calls to return them.
his story has been corrected to show that the agreement will be signed between Germany and Nigeria in Berlin, not in Nigeria.
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