Benin requests to return about 5,000 stolen cultural objects by France during colonization
Thrones, reliefs, jewelry, masks and statuettes are some of the cultural objects stolen from the Dahomet Kingdom during the colonization. Most of these cultural objects are exposed at the Quai Branly Museum. Benin wishes to recover them.
The statue of King GuĂ©zo, the royal recades, the throne of GlĂ©lĂ© and the sacred gate of his palace etcâ€¦From 1894 to 1958, these cultural objects have been looted by France during the colonization of Benin.
They are now in majority in the Quai Branly Museum with more than 5000 Benin cultural objects scattered in private collections.
Benin had said on 27, to have made an official request to France Foreign Ministry to recover the stolen assets.
On 27 July, the Benin said it had made a formal request to the Foreign Ministry to recover stolen assets.
Benin relies on the UNESCO conventions which have already allowed the seal of the dey of Alger stolen by French colonial army in 1830 to be returned to Algeria in 2003.
Contacted, the Ministry of Culture says he is waiting for the official restitution request. The negotiations are usually long. Museums often dragging their feet arguing that African museums are not up to the conservation standard of cultural objects.
Actually, it is estimated that 90% of African cultural objects are outside the African continent.
It is a historic request that Benin addressed to France on 27 July. The former Africa sub-Saharan colony, independent since 1960, officially called to Paris to restitute cultural properties acquired in the late nineteenth century, during the colonization period.
Contacted by France 24, the president of the Representative Council of Black Associations in France (CRAN), Louis â€“Georges Tin, says: '' this is the first time that a former colony of Black Africa begins this approach''. Since 2013, CRAN is active for the restitution of these Beninese '' treasures looted ''.
It is about 5 000 objects located in several private museums, which most of them now belongs to the collections of the Quai Branly Museum in Paris,
'' objects looted ''.
''The keystones of these looted treasures exhibited in the Quai Branly Museum, are anthropomorphic statues of the last kings of Abomey, a dynasty which ruled Benin until the nineteenth century in what was then called the Dahomey Kingdom, '' explains Louis-Georges Tin.
Other objects of great heritage value, several ''recades'' (royal scepters), thrones, or sacred gates of Abomey palace. ''These objects were looted by General Dodds, the French military at the head of the troops, who conquered the country between 1892 and 1894,'' says Louis-Georges Trin.
It is a question of identity and national pride. ''The young Beninese have to admire these objects home, they bear witness to their rich past, they have a role to play on the memorial map,'' said Louis-Georges Tin, for which these objects have nothing to do within Paris museum. ''It is almost as if the fundamental objects of French heritage were exhibited in Berlin,'' he says.