Looted Ethiopian treasures in UK Could be Returned on Loan. Benin Artefacts Next Pls..
Treasures including a gold crown and a royal wedding dress, which were taken from Ethiopia by the British 150 years ago, could be returned to Africa by the Victoria and Albert Musuem on long-term loan.
Ethiopia lodged a formal restitution claim in 2007 for hundreds of important and beautiful manuscripts and artefacts being held by various British institutions, all plundered after the 1868 capture of Maqdala, the mountain capital of Emperor Tewodros II in what was then Abyssinia.
That request has been refused. But in the run-up to a Maqdala display opening this week at the V&A, a compromise has been offered by the museum’s director, Tristram Hunt, who said: “The speediest way, if Ethiopia wanted to have these items on display, is a long-term loan … that would be the easiest way to manage it.”
The offer is significant given the pledge by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, that the return of African artefacts would be a “top priority” for his administration.