Officials Return Precious Stolen Artifacts To India And Nigeria

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The Nigerian government has finally returned precious artifacts to their rightful owners.

Last week, the University of Aberdeen presented a Benin Bronze to a Nigerian delegation. This bronze was taken by British troops in 1897. 

This makes this the third European institution that will return cultural artifacts back to Africa within two days.

The sculpture is the head and crown of an Oba or King of the once-mighty Kingdom, Benin. It’s located in Nigeria.

They are one of the most significant art-marking historical pieces in Africa, including the bronzes they stole from their royal court. Most of them can be found in Europe.

The University of Aberdeen bought the bronze head in an auction in 1957. A recent inventory of its provenance revealed that it was one the looted items. University of Aberdeen contacted Nigerian authorities to request it be handed over.

This is similar in that 250 artifacts were returned by the U.S. to India at the Indian Consulate in New York City following a lengthy investigation into a theft scheme.

These items are estimated to be worth $15 million. The centerpiece of the collection is the bronze Shiva Nataraja which is worth $4 million.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office and U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement began the investigation that resulted in the ceremony. 

The investigation focused on tens of thousands of antiquities allegedly smuggled into the United States by a dealer who denied allegations that he took treasures from India and Southeast Asia. 

Six co-conspirators were convicted after investigators recovered over 2,500 artifacts worth $143 million.