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Nigeria To Receive 92 Additional Benin Bronzes From German City of Cologne

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The German city Cologne has announced its plan to return 92 Benin bronzes from the collection of the Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum to Nigeria.

The decision was reached at the request of the Nigerian partners and three works, according to the announcement on Tuesday, should be returned to Nigeria before the end of December, and a further 52 from 2023 onwards.

Thirty-seven of the artworks were planned to remain on loan to the Cologne museum for an initial period of ten years. The Cologne City Council plans to vote on the proposal on 8 December.

The city said the draft resolution on the return was the result of negotiations with representatives of Nigeria that had been conducted since 2021 under the auspices of the German Foreign Office and the Minister of State for Culture.

Few months ago, Germany returned two of the priceless artifacts known as the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria, after reaching a political agreement that could soon see hundreds more return to the country from which they were looted over 100 years ago

The return of some of the Benin Bronzes is part of a wider move to repatriate items which were stolen by colonialists to their native lands.

Meanwhile, the municipal Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum has the fourth largest collection of Benin court art works in Germany.

These are works that were looted from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin by the British Army in 1897. The works were subsequently auctioned off in Europe.

Recently, there had been several reports of 96 Benin bronzes in the Cologne museum.

However, the city explained that an examination of the works of art in recent months had revealed new information about their attribution to the 1897 theft.

For example, some works were not made until the 20th century and thus did not originate from the theft. Other works are no longer in the museum due to war losses and barter transactions.

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