GLASGOW, Scotland: Glasgow held a ceremony on Friday to officially repatriate seven Indian cultural objects looted during British colonial rule, calling it the first for a British museum service.
Dignitaries from the High Commission of India joined members of Glasgow Life, the charity which manages the Scottish city’s museum collections, at the handover ceremony, after more than 18 months of talks.
Six of the items were stolen from northern India in the 1800s, and a seventh was purchased illegally after being stolen from its original owners.
The seven items were looted from sacred places such as temples and shrines and donated as gifts to museum collections in the Scottish city.
“Glasgow has been leading repatriation efforts in the UK since 1998,” said Duncan Dornan, museums and collections manager at Glasgow Life.
“We look forward to continuing our work with the Indian authorities to ensure the safe return of these artifacts.”
In total, Glasgow is set to return 51 items to the descendants of their rightful owners in India and Nigeria, as well as the Cheyenne River and Oglala Sioux tribes in the US state of South Dakota.
In March, Glasgow City Council issued an apology for the city’s role in the Atlantic slave trade, after a survey of streets, buildings and individuals linked to the practice.
Glasgow’s repatriation pledge is part of a wider reassessment of the provenance of objects in Western museums, following global movements against racism.
Earlier this year, two British universities returned to Nigeria two Beninese bronzes looted by British colonialists in the 19th century.