Ethiopian artifacts looted by the British colonialists in the 19th century are on a display in London, but a top Ethiopian official says the treasures belong to Addis Ababa and they need to be returned to the rightful owner.
Ethiopia hopes the display at the London’s Victoria and Albert museum (V&A), which will remain open to the public until June 2019, will help in the eventual return of the lost treasures.
The items, which include a gold crown, a gold chalice and a royal wedding dress, were stolen after the capture of Meqdela – the mountain capital of the then Ethiopian ruler, Emperor Tewodross II, in 1868.
“Showing the looted Meqdela artifacts to the public is positive. We hope it is going to create pressure on them [the Museum] that will help us in our efforts to return the artifacts to where they belong,” Desalegn Abebaw, the director of country’s Cultural Heritage Inventory, Grading and Inspection, told Al Jazeera.
In 2007, Addis Ababa launched a formal restitution claim to have the treasures returned back to Ethiopia.
“It’s good to show these artifacts to the public rather than locking them somewhere since the exposure is going to help us to return them back,” Abebaw said.
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