A prominent art historian has called on the renowned auction house, Christie’s, to cancel the sale of two Nigerian sculptures to be put up for auction shortly.
Prof Chika Okeke-Agulu told the BBC the two objects were “looted” from shrines in south-eastern Nigeria during the civil war in the late 1960s.
Christie’s rejects this, saying the sale is perfectly legal.
The items are expected to sell for $280,000-$390,000 (£230,00-£320,000).
The wooden objects about 1.5 metres high, one male and one female, represent deities from the Igbo community, their hands face upwards waiting to receive sacrifices and gifts.
Why should the auction be cancelled?
Prof Okeke-Agulu from Princeton University says the objects were looted from communal shrines in his native Anambra state, with the help of local conspirators.
He said they could not have been acquired legally because they were removed during the Biafra civil war, when the Igbo community attempted to secede from Nigeria.
“Growing up in Nigeria, we would pass by these destroyed and looted shrines and they would point to them, ‘these were the shrines that were looted and destroyed during the war,'” he told the BBC. (BBC)