The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, United States, has announced plans to return two Benin Bronze pieces out of the looted artworks to its place of origin when the British soldiers invaded the ancient of Benin in 1897.
The two works collections to be returned are “Warrior Chief” and “Junior Court Official,” a pair of 16th-century brass plaques from the Oba Palace in Benin City would be handed over to the Governor Godwin Obaseki-backed Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) project.
Director at the Met Museum, Max Hollein, in a statement, said “The retention of these works within Nigeria’s National Collections is critical to the well-being of the museum Community and to fostering ongoing cooperation and dialogue between The Met and our Nigerian counterparts”.
Erin L. Thompson, a professor of art crime at John Jay College, said “The Metropolitan is repatriating two artifacts stolen from Nigeria in the 20th century, but not the many other artifacts stolen from that territory in the 19th century in its collections.
“These artifacts — key parts of the sacred and political workings of the Kingdom of Benin — were taken during an orgy of violence intended to steal not just the kingdom’s treasures, but the kingdom itself,” She added.