Advanced Search                   

What is ICOM

Governing Bodies


Become a member

  Committees Calendar
  International Museum Day
  General Conferences
  Fighting Illicit Traffic
  Capacity Building
  Community Involvement
  Cultural Tourism
  Intangible Heritage
  Risk Management




The "One Hundred Missing Objects" Series

Stolen objects identified thanks to Looting in Africa.

Thanks to Looting in Africa second volume in the series "One Hundred Missing Objects", published in 1994, several objects appearing in this work have been identified.

- Cote d'Ivoire :
Published on page 50, this Bété statuette that had disappeared from the National Museum of Abidjan in the 1970's during a travelling exhibition in Europe was offered for sale in december 1992 at the Drouot auction house in Paris and was seized during the exhibition prior to the auction. Since April 1st, 1996 this object is again displayed in the Musée des civilizations du Côte d'Ivoire in Abidjan.

- Madagascar :
A Malagasy "Sakalava" statuette comparable to the one reproduced in the "Looted Objects" section of the book (page 101) was seized from a French art dealer at the Salon de Mars antique fair in Paris on May 3rd, 1995. Since September 1995, the object is on display at the Museum of Art and Archaeologia, Antananarivo.

- Mali :
A "Thial" animal figurine found in France has been restituted to Mali in January 1998. This type of archaeological objects are published on p.109. This object is now exhibited at the National Museum of Bamako.

- Zambia :
A Nalinde mask (9198B., p. 85), stolen from the National Museum in Livingstone, Zambia, was entrusted by its purchaser to the Belgium police in June 1996. The object has been officially returned to the Zambian authorities on November 28th, 1997.

- Morocco :
Two architectural components from Morocco (a double door and a wooden panel) were offered for sale by Sotheby's in London October 17th, 1996. The Morrocan authorities have requested the return of this works which, according to the national legislation, have been illegaly exported (page 115).

Thanks to the awareness raising campaign of Looting in Africa, other stolen objects which do not appear in the ICOM publication have been found:

- Angola :
A "Lwena" statuette belonging to the National Museum of Anthropology of Angola, was identified at a public auction in Saint Germain-en-Laye (France) on 24th March 1996. The identification was possible thanks to Mrs Marie Louise Bastin, anthropologist, who studied the statuette in 1956. She informed ICOM of the identity of the object following the publication of "One Hundred Missing Object. Looting in Africa". The French police seized the object and it was officially returned to its country of origin on October 28th, 1997. The statuette has since found its home in the museum.

- Nigeria :
The French police seized three terracotta heads stolen in November 1994 from the National Museum Gallery, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. They were found by the Office central de lutte contre le trafic des biens culturels (OCBC) and returned on May 31st, 1996, to Nigeria.

Updated: 6 June 2005