Denver Art Museum removes stolen 400-year-old artifact from its collection | New

The Denver Art Museum has removed a bronze plaque from its collection after discovering that it was likely stolen from the Kingdom of Benin, located in present-day Nigeria, during a British raid in 1897.

According to museum officials, the plaque, believed to be at least 400 years old, was taken by the Commissioner of the British Protectorate of Southern Nigeria, Sir Ralph Moor, and added to the collection of the British Foreign Service. In 1955, the piece was purchased by the Carlebach Gallery in New York before being added to the collection of the Denver Art Museum.

Floyd Tunson’s installation sparks larger project on gun violence, black men at Colorado Springs museum

“The royal palace of the Oba or King of Benin was adorned with hundreds of richly ornamented plaques, like this one, telling the story of court life. Cast using the lost wax technique by a highly skilled craftsman, This plaque has the figure of a court noble or possibly a chief showing details of his regalia, including his helmet, elaborate coral necklace, embroidered skirt, belt and anklets,” the statement reads. description of the plate.

The museum is currently in possession of 11 pieces of art from Benin. The kingdom eventually fell to British colonialism.

“The search for additional facts about the plate was recently completed, and these facts led the museum to take the first step towards the repatriation of the work by alienating it (officially removing it) from the collection earlier this month. “Denver Art Museum spokesman Andy Sinclair said.

The Colorado Artist’s Tiny Murals Inside Altoids Boxes Have a Big Follow

The plaque and a small bronze pendant were both determined to be from 16th or 17th century Benin, which would place them there during the 1897 raid. An investigation of the pendant is ongoing and will determine its status.

“The museum will continue to act in good faith as a global partner in the repatriation and restitution of works of art. To date, the museum has not been contacted by anyone in Nigeria regarding these works or return requests,” Sinclair said.

In 2021, a lawsuit was filed against the museum to return four stolen artworks to Cambodia.

Officials responded to this situation with the following:

“In collaboration with the U.S. and Cambodian governments, the Denver Art Museum today announces that four works from Cambodia previously removed from its collection have been recovered from the Denver Art Museum by U.S. officials for return to Cambodia. The pieces have entered the museum’s collection about 20 years ago. a few years ago, three as a gift and one as a purchase from Douglas Latchford.”

In the months leading up to his death in 2020, Latchford was accused of smuggling and trafficking in stolen Cambodian antiquities.

Mildred D. Field