New Delhi: A ceremonial crown, a set of silver-stamped horn goblets, an imperial shield, a handwritten prayer book, a necklace, a processional cross in lattice, a triptych depicting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ – these are among the 13 stolen items that finally came to Ethiopia after more than a century and a half.
Most of these items were looted by British soldiers after defeating Emperor Tewodros II in the Battle of Magdala in 1868. The items arrived in Addis Ababa from the UK over the weekend and will be on display in museums nationwide, according to reports.
“The history of the ancient civilization of our country, the artifacts, the fingerprints of indigenous knowledge, the culture …
These items had been mostly hidden in private collections for all these years, and were brought back to Ethiopia after months of negotiations, the report said, adding that a descendant of a British soldier who fought in Maqdala had offered some of these items at an auction in Great Britain in June this year.
Officials said the objects were part of the largest act of restitution in the country’s history.
Ethiopia’s ambassador to the UK, Teferi Meles, told Reuters that many items were looted in Maqdala. “We weren’t able to bring them all back, but this is the first time in the country’s history to bring back looted items in this quantity. “
The nonprofit Scheherazade Cultural Foundation acquired several of the objects and turned them over to the Ethiopian embassy in September, according to the report.
After the Battle of Maqdala, British soldiers also took tabots, replicas of the Ark of the Covenant – considered sacred in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church – and Ethiopian authorities began negotiations with the British Museum to bring back 12 tabots, Teferi said. saying.
The British Museum said it had “cordial discussions” with an Ethiopian delegation in September. “The Museum enjoys long-standing friendly relations with the National Museum in Addis Ababa and with the Tewahedo Ethiopian Orthodox Church in London and Ethiopia,” he said.