The UK museum plans to return a lock of hair that the Ethiopian government considers a national treasure. History reads that it was cut from the head of Emperor Tewodros II, who killed himself rather than be taken prisoner by the British during their 1868 invasion of Ethiopia.
Terri Dendy, the museum’s head of collections standards and care, said in a statement,
Our decision to repatriate is very much based on the desire to inter the hair within the tomb alongside the emperor.
Al Jazeera reports that, the Ethiopian Embassy in London said it will hold talks with the museum on Thursday about the repatriation, which comes at the end of a yearlong commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the confrontation known as the Battle of Maqdala.
This development could increase pressure on other European museums with African artifacts. The experts estimated that up to 90 percent of African art is outside the continent, including statues, thrones and manuscripts.