Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sotheby's Retract Benin Mask From Sale at Request of Consigners

"Sotheby's Retract Benin Mask From Sale at Request of Consigners" Originally published on Paul Barford's Portable Antiquities collecting and heritage issues Blog (Sunday, 26 December 2010)
Well, here's a piece of good news, it is being reported on MSN this evening that Sotheby's has withdrawn a controversial sale of a Benin ivory hip mask from sale. For the controversy see several recent texts by Kwame Opoku and also Tom Flynn's coverage: ' Sale of looted Benin treasures "reprehensible and unconscionable", say Nigerian cultural activists (don't miss the Open University film embedded in it). If this is true, it shows that public opinion can sometimes hold sway over commercial interests.

Hat-tip to MSN

The Independent has an article about the withdrawal by Sotheby's a few days ago of a Benin mask that had been causing such controversy (see also the Looting Matters coverage). I was interested to read the not-very sympathetic wikipedia biography of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Henry Lionel Galway, KCMG, DSO (1859–1949) the British official in whose possession it left Africa.

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