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Loot by Barnaby Phillips review- the fight over the Benin bronzes


The tug of war over where these exquisite sculptures should reside_


There are new developments in the story of the Benin Bronzes, looted by the British in 1897 and then sold to public and private owners around the world. German museums have just announced they are moving towards a full restitution of these stunning works; the Aberdeen Museum and other UK regional museums are planning to follow suit.


All of which makes it perfect timing for this valuable guide to a complex narrative, which traces the story from seizure to the present day. Over that time, the Bronzes have become a lightning rod for arguments about the moral justification of world museums displaying objects that were stolen. The British Museum stands at the heart of the row, with about 900 Benin artefacts.

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