Restitution of the Royal Treasures of Abomey: reconnecting Beninese youth to their voodoo heritage

View of the exhibition “Benin, the restitution of 26 works from the royal treasures of Abomey”, at the Quai Branly museum.

© AFP / Christophe Archambault

By: Clémentine Pawlotsky

1 min

The Royal Treasures of Abomey will soon be back in Benin.

These 26 works, about to be returned to their country of origin, will be exhibited at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, from October 26 to 31.

Among these objects, we find royal statues evoking the reigns of kings Ghezo, Glélé and Béhanzin, thrones, royal scepters or even applied canvases.

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They were seized by the troops of the French general Alfred Amédée Dodds, at the end of the 19th century, during the colonial conquest of the former kingdom of Dahomey, located in the southwest of present-day Benin.

Over time, these military trophies have been erected into works of art by Westerners.

But for the Beninese, some of these objects have above all a sacred and spiritual value, often unknown to the general public and to the younger generations.

What is the place of these objects in the voodoo cult?

Decryption with: 

Gabin Djimasse

, historian, researcher, collector of voodoo art objects, director of the Abomey tourist office  

Didier-Marcel Houénoudé

 , university professor in art history, director of the National Institute of Crafts, Archeology and Culture of the University of Abomey-Calavi, he edited the book 

Historical heritage serving the development of Benin 

(L'Harmattan) 

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Keywords: youth, the royal treasures of abomey, gabin djimasse, works, decryption - restitution, country, royal treasures of abomey, beninese, origin, heritageview, abomey, alfred amédée dodds, treasures, restitution, quai branly