December 9, 2021

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Cambridge University was the first company in the UK to repatriate Benin Bronze to Nigeria

Cambridge University was the first company in the UK to repatriate Benin Bronze to Nigeria

Prior to 1897, British forces looted thousands of Benin bronzes.

15. October 2021 19:58 in TASR

London. One of the faculties of the University of Cambridge will become the first British institution to return to the Nigerian region of the cultural treasure known as the Benin Bronze. The Guardian reported Friday.

Jesus College will return the bronze statue of the young rooster Okugor to the Nigerian delegation at a ceremony on October 27. Nigerian officials have said the gesture gives “hope for a friendly solution” to ongoing conflicts over the ownership of cultural property.

Okoror, referred to as the “Royal Tradition of the Ancestors”, was taken from the former Benin Empire (later incorporated into Nigeria) in 1897 when British troops looted thousands of Benin bronzes.

Okugor was on public display at Jesus College until 2016, when calls from students for his return began to appear. Examination of the evidence revealed that the statue was presented to the teacher in 1905 by the father of a student.

After the authors announced their decision to return the artwork in November 2019, several regional museums said they would consider returning the exhibitions with a similar rule.

There are also hundreds of so-called Benin Bronze – plates and statues made in the 13th century by the Edo ethnic group living in what is now southern Nigeria. The artifacts came to museums from private collections or were donated by soldiers who participated in the robbery.

Most of Benin’s bronze is owned by the British Museum (BM) in London – about 900 pieces – and has large collections in Germany and the United States.

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