Showing 4 results for the tag: Queen Idia.

May 28, 2012

Can artefacts really be more important within the British Museum than in their homeland

Posted at 1:08 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Following a visit to the British Museum, Kwame Opoku questions what significance some of the museums artefacts (that were immensely significant to their original owners) can have within the context of the museum. In the majority of cases, the answer to this would be far less. Certainly, more people may see them, but in many cases they pass by it quickly – the piece means nothing to them, once it is displayed isolated from its culture.

SPY Ghana

Sat, May 26th, 2012

A recent visit to the British Museum confirmed what we have observed in previous years: many Western visitors to the museum have no specific interest in any particular Benin object, even if they visit the Sainsbury Gallery and look at the Benin Bronzes. They are mostly unaware of the looted Queen-Mother-Idia (?Iyoba?) ivory mask.

Have the hundred years of illegal retention of this mask had any effect on the knowledge and interest of the average Western visitor to the museum? It seems hardly any European visitor is even aware that the mask represents an important personality in Benin history. Most Western visitors are certainly unaware of her important and decisive role and influence in stabilizing the Kingdom of Benin
Read the rest of this entry »

February 1, 2011

Nigeria & the looted artefacts from the Benin Empire

Posted at 1:37 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the proposed auction of an Queen Idia mask, looted from Benin in 1897. The auction is merely a symptom of a much wider ranging problem though – that museums & collectors pay too little attention to the actual provenance of the artefacts that they are acquiring.


Nigeria: Between the Country’s Artefacts And Western Iconoclasts
Ovwe Medeme
4 January 2011

Lagos — More controversies have arisen on the legality or otherwise of the refusal of the west to return the artefacts looted from the Benin Empire in 1897. Iconographic nature of the artefacts notwithstanding, foreign museums have continued to flaunt and exhibit the mask and other artefacts without recourse to their origin.

Before now, a lot of people have thought that there was only one Idia mask, the one in the British Museum. A few people realised that there was one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and another at the Seattle Art Museum as well as another in the Linden Museum, Stuttgart. There is currently the news of a fifth mask that was to have been sold later this year.
Read the rest of this entry »

January 27, 2011

Was the decision to cancel the Benin mask based on moral principles, or merely a tactical withdrawal?

Posted at 2:10 pm in Similar cases

Kwame Opoku reflects on the cancellation of the planned auction of a disputed Benin mask by Sotheby’s.

Modern Ghana

Author: Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Sun, 02 Jan 2011

The cancellation notice of the auction of Queen-Mother Idia mask on 4 December by Sotheby’s could not have been shorter:

“The Benin Ivory Pendant Mask and other items consigned by the descendants of Lionel Galway which Sotheby’s had announced for auction in February 2011 have been withdrawn from sale at the request of the consignors (2).
Read the rest of this entry »

October 21, 2010

Queen Idia mask from Benin damaged in US museum

Posted at 12:52 pm in Similar cases

Much is made (by Museums in the West) of the fact that artefacts may be less safe when located in museums in Africa & Asia. There is always a chance of damage occurring no matter where the museum is – it is all the more galling when it occurs in one of the countries that claims to be a safer location.

South Florida Times

Rare Nigerian mask on loan to county broken
Written by Elgin Jones

BROWARD COUNTY-The rare Queen Idia mask on loan to Broward County’s African American Library & Cultural Center has been found to be damaged.

“I was shown the broken mask in February when I went to the library to catalog the Osemwegie Ebohon Collection,” said Babacar M’Bow, International Programs & Exhibit coordinator for the Broward County Library system. “It was not broken when we received it in 2001 and there is documentation of that.”
Read the rest of this entry »