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Smithsonian Museum of African Art Removes Benin Bronzes

It’s planning to repatriate artefacts that were looted by the British in an 1897 raid on the royal palace, according to the museum’s director, Ngaire Blankenberg. After the 1897 looting, artefacts from Benin’s royal palace were sold off and scattered around the world; Benin objects are now held by more than 160 international museums, including several in the US. The University of California’s Fowler Museum has also said it plans talks with the Nigerian authorities on the future of 18 objects in its collection from the Kingdom of Benin. Last week, two British universities returned looted artefacts to Nigeria: the University of Aberdeen handed over the bronze head of an oba, or king, and Jesus College Cambridge returned a bronze sculpture of a cockerel.