Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Background to the Benin Punitive Expedition

Michael Yates has written an article on Kunstpedia concerning matters that lead to the removal of the Benin bronzes from the Oba’s palace in the 19th century. He says he has tried to give an objective account without wanting to see events only from a British viewpoint, and indeed his version differs from those traditional in the discussion. What he does however is concentrate on the ambush of 4th January, 1897, rather than the details of the Punitive Expedition, and it is the latter which is in question in discussions of the repatriation issue.

I found the discussion of the BM selling off (deaccessioning) some of the objects rather interesting in the light of their arguments that British law does not allow them to deaccession items from their collections.

See also: Karen Mercury, 'Expansion & Invasion: The Benin Punitive Expedition', Unusual Historicals

Vignette: Harry Rawson, commander of the punitive expedition. 

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