Artifacts including but not limited to scepter, and objects of worship that were stolen by France during its colonial occupation of Benin have been returned to the West African nation of cotonou.
The Artifacts were Looted from the Kingdom of Dahomey by France during its colonial occupation of Benin, Cotonou.
The antique dealers of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, friends and patrons of the Petit Musée de la Récade acquired these objects in 2019 in Nantes during an auction with the intent of returning them to their rightful owners.
The returned artifacts, which numbers over 24, include 17 scepters that were looted from the once-powerful ancient Kingdom of Dahomey.
Currently the 28 objects are housed at the Petit Musee de la Recade, a small museum on the outskirts of the capital Cotonou.
Petit Musee de la Recade
“The return of our remnants, the recades of our Kings to their native land, has made an impression and continues to awaken the consciousness of our audiences,” the museum’s curator, Marius Jidé Dakpogan, says in a statement. “May this effect endure over time! Especially for a youth that knows almost nothing of its history.”
When the Petit Musee de la Recade opened in December 2015, it had 37 spectres and six other artefacts donated by the antiquarian group and private collectors.
“We have 28 new items in our collection,” said Marion Hamard, director general of the centre for the arts and culture housed within the museum.
“Among them we have two sculptures, eight swords, 16 sceptres and two daggers.”
“This will allow us to expand our collection considerably,” she added.
She hoped the new acquisitions would help boost visitors to the museum from 7,000 to 10,000 by the end of the year.
With French support, Benin is also building a new museum in Abomey, once the capital of the Kingdom of Dahomey and the plan on ground is to return stolen artifacts including 26 statues and thrones that were looted by French forces from the Kingdom of Dahomey.