British University, University of Aberdeen has announced that it will be returning a Benin Bronze to Nigeria, after Britain looted the sculptures.
The bronze sculpture is one of the thousands of metal and ivory sculptures as well as carvings stolen by British authorities during an invasion of Benin City in 1897. The monumental items were sold to museums, given as gifts to museums or sold at auctions/art deal.
The University of Aberdeen acquired the bronze sculpture showing an Oba (king) of Benin in 1957 at an auction. However, they have decided to return it to its origin, Nigeria.
The statement released by the university reads,
The University of Aberdeen is to return a Benin bronze, the first-ever fully repatriated to Nigeria by a museum. The University announced it would return the sculpture more than 125 years after it was looted by British forces.
An ongoing review of the collections identified the Head of an Oba as having been acquired in a way that we now consider to have been extremely immoral, so we took a proactive approach to identify the appropriate people to discuss what to do,” the school said as it became the first institution to agree to the full repatriation from a museum of a Benin bronze.
It would not have been right to have retained an item of such great cultural importance that was acquired in such reprehensible circumstances.
We, therefore, decided that an unconditional return is the most appropriate action we can take, and are grateful for the close collaboration with our partners.