Although this particular picture depicts the pillaging of Benin by its British conquerors, Igbo communities faced similar acts of cultural degradation and psychological trauma at the hands of British colonial officials and missionaries throughout the 20th century. Missionaries and colonial powers actively encouraged natives to hand over masks, idols, and other crafts of religious and cultural significance for destruction. A disturbing amount of the cultural and religious wares of various Igbo (and African, in general) communities were destroyed in this manner, and today, unfortunately, a large number of these stolen artifacts remain on display in European museums.
top of page
bottom of page