This website is an index of Benin Bronzes which have been deinstalled from museum exhibitions, returned to Nigeria or yet-to-be returned to Nigeria. The list dates back to 2014, and will always be in progress. All entry descriptions are excerpts from existing text entries on related website. Please refer to the link at the bottom of entry. 

Benin Bronze Tracker is managed by Minne Atairu

 StatusYearTitleFromToDescription

1

Deinstalled2021Bronze OkukorNational Gallery Art, Washington DCTBDhttps://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.43431.html

2

Deinstalled2021Bronze Plaque, Male FigureSmithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan.


https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/14344/plaque?ctx=6aa0033777aae1d67e6a3182b041b6b8505397f2&idx=9

3

Deinstalled2021Ivory, Salt CellarSmithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan. https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/16983/salt-cellar?ctx=fc6dbb7106ab72e698800fba3ae396c0520adfb5&idx=41

4

Deinstalled2021Bronze Plaque, Oba & Attendants [D-form]Smithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan. https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/8949/pendant?ctx=6aa0033777aae1d67e6a3182b041b6b8505397f2&idx=16

5

Deinstalled2021Bronze, Figure of an ObaSmithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan. https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/8946/figure-of-a-king?ctx=6aa0033777aae1d67e6a3182b041b6b8505397f2&idx=19

6

Deinstalled2021Bronze, Head of an ObaSmithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan. https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/8944/commemorative-head-of-a-king?ctx=6cc1c72a35865540b400fd25ef9e178b1ad83121&idx=24

7

Deinstalled2021Bronze, Pendant [D-shaped]Smithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan. https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/8959/pendant?ctx=6cc1c72a35865540b400fd25ef9e178b1ad83121&idx=28

8

Deinstalled2021Bronze Plaque, man holding pointing downwardsSmithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan. https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/8941/plaque?ctx=6aa0033777aae1d67e6a3182b041b6b8505397f2&idx=23

9

Deinstalled2021Ivory, female figureSmithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan. https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/16951/female-figure?ctx=fc6dbb7106ab72e698800fba3ae396c0520adfb5&idx=39

10

Deinstalled2021Bronze plaque, flanked with nude male & musiciansSmithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan. https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/822/plaque?ctx=6cc1c72a35865540b400fd25ef9e178b1ad83121&idx=33

11

Deinstalled2021Ivory SpoonSmithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan. https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/8960/spoon?ctx=6cc1c72a35865540b400fd25ef9e178b1ad83121&idx=27

12

Deinstalled2021Bronze plaque, European man next to horseSmithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan. https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/8959/pendant?ctx=6cc1c72a35865540b400fd25ef9e178b1ad83121&idx=28.

13

Deinstalled2021Bronze GongSmithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan. https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/9102/gong?ctx=fc6dbb7106ab72e698800fba3ae396c0520adfb5&idx=34

14

Deinstalled2021Bronze plaque, male standing with Eben pointing upwardsSmithsonian Museum for African ArtTBDOn October 25, 2021, the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, announced that sixteen Benin Bronzes from its collection have “direct links” to the 1897 Benin Massacre. Ten of the bronzes were removed from display in the museum. All 16 are now being considered for repatriation. The museum has 42 Benin Bronzes in total in its collection. In addition to the 16 artifacts that have been earmarked for repatriation, 23 objects have not been included in the ongoing repatriation plan. https://africa.si.edu/collections/objects/8955/plaque?ctx=6cc1c72a35865540b400fd25ef9e178b1ad83121&idx=32

15

Repatriated2021Bronze Plaque, Junior Court official Metropolitan Museum of ArtNCMMOn November 22, 2021, the Metropolitan Museum of Art returned two 16th century bronze plaques [Warrior Chief and Junior Court Official] which were stolen from the National Museum in Lagos in the 1950s. Per the provenance history: “The two 16th-century plaques, Warrior Chief and Junior Court Official, produced at the Court of Benin, were among those works removed from the Royal Palace in 1897 during the British military occupation of Benin. Following that military campaign, they entered the collection of the British Museum, London, from 1898 to 1950. In 1950–51, the British Museum transferred these two plaques (and 24 others) to the National Museum in Lagos. Although they were never deaccessioned by the National Museum, the two plaques entered the international art market at an unknown date and under unclear circumstances and were eventually acquired by a New York collector. In 1991, that individual gave his collection of Benin works to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the works were researched, published in print and online, and exhibited internationally.”

https://www.metmuseum.org/press/news/2021/the-met-and-ncmm-mou

16

Repatriated2021Bronze Plaque, Warrior ChiefMetropolitan Museum of ArtNCMMhttps://www.metmuseum.org/press/news/2021/the-met-and-ncmm-mOn November 22, 2021, the Metropolitan Museum of Art returned two 16th century bronze plaques [Warrior Chief and Junior Court Official] which were stolen from the National Museum in Lagos in the 1950s. Per the provenance history: “The two 16th-century plaques, Warrior Chief and Junior Court Official, produced at the Court of Benin, were among those works removed from the Royal Palace in 1897 during the British military occupation of Benin. Following that military campaign, they entered the collection of the British Museum, London, from 1898 to 1950. In 1950–51, the British Museum transferred these two plaques (and 24 others) to the National Museum in Lagos. Although they were never deaccessioned by the National Museum, the two plaques entered the international art market at an unknown date and under unclear circumstances and were eventually acquired by a New York collector. In 1991, that individual gave his collection of Benin works to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the works were researched, published in print and online, and exhibited internationally.”
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17

Repatriated2021Bronze, OkukorJesus College, Cambridge UniversityNCMM

18

Repatriated2021Bronze, Head of an ObaUniversity of AberdeenNCMM

19

Deaccessioned2020Bronze, Head of an ObaRhode Island School of Design [RISD] MuseumTBDIn Fall 2020, RISD Museum deaccessioned a commemorative head of an Oba [c. 17th century]. Lucy Truman Aldrich donated the Head of a King (Oba) to the RISD Museum in 1939. Provenance research indicates that the object was purchased from the Knoedler Gallery in New York in 1935. A sticker reading “Imported from France” and a French customs stamp (“Douane France”) on the interior of the head suggest that it was held in a collection in France prior to the sale. Between the time it left the Benin Kingdom and then, its ownership history remains unknown.
https://www.risd.edu/news/stories/risd-museum-focuses-on-change-supporting-social-justice

20

Repatriated2014Bronze, EroroMark WalkerOba of BeninOn July 20, 2014, Mark Walker, returned two objects inherited from his grandfather Richard Sutherland Walker a soldier in the 1897 Benin Massacre. https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31605284

21

Repatriated2014Bronze, Ahianmwen-oroMark WalkerOba of BeninOn July 20, 2014, Mark Walker, returned two objects inherited from his grandfather Richard Sutherland Walker a soldier in the 1897 Benin Massacre. https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31605284