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  • Benin Bronzes

    The BBC reports that the Horniman Museum in South London has agreed that 72 items, including some known as Benin Bronzes, "acquired through force" in the 19th century, will be returned to Nigeria:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-62456366

    More than 2000 Benin Bronzes are held by museums in various countries, with the largest numbers in Britain, Germany and Austria. The repatriation of a number of them has been arranged in recent years:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benin_Bronzes

  • #2
    Very unfortunate, in my opinion

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Kattrup View Post
      Very unfortunate, in my opinion
      Obviously the "repatriation" of antiquities can be a complicated subject, and people will inevitably have different opinions about it. But personally I feel it is a good thing in principle, subject of course to any particular concerns there may be. I'd be curious to hear why you think it is unfortunate in this case, if you'd like to explain.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Chris Phillips View Post

        Obviously the "repatriation" of antiquities can be a complicated subject, and people will inevitably have different opinions about it. But personally I feel it is a good thing in principle, subject of course to any particular concerns there may be. I'd be curious to hear why you think it is unfortunate in this case, if you'd like to explain.
        I’m afraid I disagree that repatriation is a good thing. Artifacts have no patria, or rather, their history IS their patria.
        Uprooting them from the context they’ve inhabited for 120 years is wrong.

        There is no universal essence of Benin that makes Nigeria a more suitable place for the artifacts the GB. States and statehood vary through time and assertions that one country today can accurately and justifiably represent a different, past country are simply manipulative arguments used to bolster political pressure (“British colonialism bad!”) for economic gain (ownership of expensive artifacts).

        I visited the Hornimann museum ten years ago, it is very interesting. However they, together with many other British museums, lend too much credence to the belief that a modern-day “community” should have any say in the caretaking of the collections. As is referenced in the article.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Kattrup View Post

          I’m afraid I disagree that repatriation is a good thing. Artifacts have no patria, or rather, their history IS their patria.
          Uprooting them from the context they’ve inhabited for 120 years is wrong.

          There is no universal essence of Benin that makes Nigeria a more suitable place for the artifacts the GB. States and statehood vary through time and assertions that one country today can accurately and justifiably represent a different, past country are simply manipulative arguments used to bolster political pressure (“British colonialism bad!”) for economic gain (ownership of expensive artifacts).

          I visited the Hornimann museum ten years ago, it is very interesting. However they, together with many other British museums, lend too much credence to the belief that a modern-day “community” should have any say in the caretaking of the collections. As is referenced in the article.
          Thanks for explaining.

          Comment

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