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14 Archaeological Objects – Italy and Cleveland Museum of Art
On 19 November 2008, the Italian Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities and the Cleveland Museum of Art signed an agreement concerning 14 archaeological objects in the museum’s collection. This agreement provides for the return to Italy of the artworks in exchange for loans of “a similar number of works of equal aesthetic and historical significance”.
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Bible et fouet Witbooi – Namibie et Allemagne
En 2013, la Namibie a adressé à l’Allemagne une requête en restitution d’une bible et d’un fouet witbooi. Ces objets, dont était propriétaire le héros national namibien Hendrick Witbooi, ont été spoliés par les troupes allemandes en 1893, lors d’une attaque menée par ces dernières contre la ville de Hornkranz afin de taire les soulèvements de la population contre l’occupation militaire allemande. Après des années de négociation, l’État allemand a finalement accepté de rendre les objets demandés. La restitution a eu lieu le 28 février 2019, à Gibeon, berceau historique de la communauté witbooi.
Trésor de Béhanzin – France et Bénin
En 1892, les militaires français pillent le palais de Béhanzin à Abomey afin d’asseoir le pouvoir colonialiste de la France dans la région du Bénin. Plus d’un siècle après, le Parlement français vote, par une loi de restitution dite spontanée, issue d’un projet de loi du gouvernement, la restitution de ce trésor à son pays d’origine.
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Sabre de El Hadj Omar Tall – France et Sénégal
Le sabre avec fourreau, attribué à El Hadj Omar Tall, pris dans des circonstances encore obscures, a été conservé en France à la suite de la conquête de l’Empire Toucouleur, puis prêté à deux reprises au Sénégal avant d’être définitivement restitué par la France, en 2021, par le vote d’une loi de restitution issue d’une initiative politique française.
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La Bergère – Meyer Heirs and Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art
Raoul Meyer’s art collection, which included Camille Pissarro’s painting “La bergère rentrant des moutons”, was looted by Nazi troops during the occupation of France in early 1940s. Decades later, Meyer’s daughter and heir, Léone Meyer, discovered the painting at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, and initiated a lawsuit in the United States seeking its return. After a three-year litigation, the two sides reached a settlement in 2016.
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Waurà Indians Collection – Museum der Kulturen Basel, Penteado Coelho Heirs and Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia Universidade de São Paulo, Waurà Indians
Vera Penteado Coelho, a Brazilian ethnologist, bequeathed to the Museum der Kulturen Basel her collection of Waurà cultural objects. Following opposition from the Waurà Indians and the Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia Universidade de São Paulo, the Basel Museum entered into negotiations to allow the collection to remain in Brazil. Eight years later, in 2008, the collection was donated to the São Paulo Museum.
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Murals of Teotihuacán – Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and National Institute of Anthropology and History
In 1978, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco became the owner of a number of murals from the world-famous Aztec site of Teotihuacán (Mexico). The Mexican Government failed in its attempts to obtain the return of these wall paintings through a court action in the United States.
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Orpheus Mosaic – Turkey and Dallas Museum of Art
In December 2012, the Dallas Museum of Art returned to Turkey a fragment of a Roman mosaic. In addition, the parties concluded a comprehensive art exchange program.
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Troy Gold – Turkey and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
In September 2012, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology decided to loan indefinitely to Turkey a collection of antique jewelry that the Museum had acquired in 1966. The collection was probably illicitly excavated in Troy, a city in Northwest Turkey. In return, Turkey agreed to provide the Museum important loans and further collaboration in the field of archaeology.
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Buddhist Paintings – Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) bought four Buddhist paintings in 1998. These paintings were featured in frequent exhibitions of LACMA’s Korean art galleries until the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism notified LACMA that the paintings were stolen. After amicable negotiation, these paintings were returned to the Jogye Order in August 2020.
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