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STOLEN OBJECTS

Burkina Faso
A stone statuette, formerly in a private collection in Germany, was returned to Burkina Faso on 16 December 2001. The statuette, which was stolen in 1991, was described in ICOM's 1994 publication One Hundred Missing Objects. Looting in Africa. However, neither the community to which the statuette originally belonged, nor the state of Burkina Faso, has been recognised as its rightful owner.

Nigeria
The French government has recognised Nigeria’s ownership of three Nok and Sokoto artefacts, acquired by France in 1999 for the planned Musée du Quai Branly.

These objects – in the category of archaeological objects identified on the ICOM Red List as being among the types of cultural goods most affected by thefts and looting – are protected by national legislation and banned from export: they must not be purchased or offered for sale. Nigeria – in exchange for France's recognition of its ownership – has decided to deposit the Nok and Sokoto objects with the Musée du Quai Branly, where they will be exhibited in the museum’s permanent collection for a period of 25 years (renewable).

Angola
In January 2002 a 16th century tribal mask was stolen from a museum in Dundo, in the north-eastern Angolan province of Lunda-Norte. Known as the 'Mwana Pwo' (young woman), the mask represented a key figure in rituals practised during popular festivals by the Lunda-Cokwe ethnic group, part of the former Lunda empire. Six Lunda-Cokwe statues stolen last year from the museum of anthropology in Luanda have still not been recovered.

An official at the only museum in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda, which is surrounded by the Congo and the DRC, reported that a series of rare works of art and tape recordings containing the results of anthropological and linguistic research had been stolen.

Ethiopia
According to a web posting dated 29 April 2002 by UN Integrated Regional Information Networks: "A crisis is looming over the future of the world's largest and most important collection of Ethiopian cultural heritage and treasures. The historic building ˝ once Emperor Haile Selassie's palace, and which now houses the thousands of precious manuscripts and religious artefacts - is in danger of collapse. A campaign by the internationally renowned Institute of Ethiopian Studies (IES) has been launched to build a new structure to house the treasures."

Swahili Artefacts (East Africa)
These Swahili Artefacts were stolen in March 2005 from the house of Dr. Ernst Dammann who died in 2003, in Pinneberg, Germany. It is believed that the lute was made by the famous poet and singer Kijumwa Masihi from Lamu. After the death of Dammann, the pieces were to be bequeathed to both the Tanzanian government and the Lamu Museum in Kenya.

Eket Mask (Nigeria)
This mask was stolen from the Gerbrand Luttik collection in the Netherlands at the end of 2004.

Yaure Mask (Ivory Coast)
This rare mask (size: 20 cm) was stolen from the Ethnological Museum in Munich (V÷lkerkundemuseum) the 22th of December 2004. The mask was collected by the German anthropologist, Hans Himmelheber, in 1934. There is a reward for the recovery of this mask.
If you have any information, contact:
Mr. Stefan Eisenhofer
Curator for African Art V÷lkerkundemuseum, Munich
Tel: 49 89 210136138

Salampasu and Pende masks (DR Congo)
Two Salampasu masks were stolen at Alain Guisson art shop in Brussels on Monday January 19th 2004: one mask has a basket on top filled with cotton; the other with copper. Also stolen was a classical western Pende mask with lines on the face.

Ashanti regalia (Ghana)
A gold-mounted cap and sandals were part of a lot on the cover of the December 2003 Christies' auction catalogue in Paris. The slippers, which have gold decoration and protective shamanic text, were stolen before the viewing started.

Objects: circa 1870. Cap 20.5cm. wide: sandals 26cm. long Label: "Cap and Slippers worn by the Ashanti King Coffee Calcalli. Taken from the Palace of Coomassie by H.B. Majesty's Forces under the command of Major Genl. Sir Garnet Wolseley, K.C.B., G.C.M.G., January, 1874"

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