Museum Security Network

Kwame Opoku – BARBIER-MUELLER MUSEUM SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH TANZANIA TO RETURN STOLEN MAKONDE MASK

We reproduce below an ICOM Press Release on an agreement signed on 10
May 2010 between Tanzania and the Geneva Museum Barbier-Mueller on the
return of a Makonde mask which had been stolen from the National
Museum of Tanzania in Dar Es Salaam in 1984.

Readers should not be misled by the title of the agreement which
suggests that this was a “donation” and thereby creating the
impression that this is a sign of generosity on the part of the
museum. The matter went before UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee
for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of
Origin or Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation. It is said in
the press release that the issue came before the Committee because of
misunderstanding.
Perhaps we should not worry too much about the formulation of the
agreement in view of the concrete result achieved. We should
congratulate the parties concerned and hope that the many other
African artefacts which are alleged to have been illegitimately
acquired will soon be subjects of agreement.(see “Let Others loot for
you: looting of African Artefacts for Western Museums”
http://www.modernghana.com “Recovering Nigeria’s Terracotta”
http://www.museum-security.org )

READ COMPLETE TEXT AT:
http://www.museum-security.org/opoku_barbier_muller.htm

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