I was stunned by the title of this article on the Guardian, and the preposterous thought that a country whose treasure it is, Ethiopia, would have to be loaned its own treasures which were looted by the British and taken to Great Britain. It is just so outrageous that such a thought could even be uttered! Below are snippets of the article. For the full article, go to The Guardian.
” Victoria and Albert Museum director says artefacts could be sent to Africa on long-term loan.
Treasures including a gold crown and a royal wedding dress, which were taken from Ethiopia by the British 150 years ago, could be returned to Africa by the Victoria and Albert Museum on long-term loan.
Ethiopia lodged a formal restitution claim in 2007 for hundreds of important and beautiful manuscripts and artefacts being held by various British institutions, all plundered after the 1868 capture of Maqdala, the mountain capital of Emperor Tewodros II in what was then Abyssinia.
That request has been refused. But in the run-up to a Maqdala display opening this week at the V&A, a compromise has been offered by the museum’s director, Tristram Hunt, who said: “The speediest way, if Ethiopia wanted to have these items on display, is a long-term loan … that would be the easiest way to manage it.”…
The British Museum has about 80 objects from Maqdala, including a number of tabots – believed by Ethiopian Christians to be the dwelling place of God on earth, a symbol of the Ark of the Covenant.
They have never been on public display because of their religious importance and can only be seen, even by a curator, with the agreement of the Ethiopian Orthodox church.
Other objects are on display but the British Museum argues the value of them being seen by the public is in a global context. A spokeswoman said the museum would consider any loan request from Ethiopia.