archaeology
subscribe
Special Introductory Offer!

Denver Museum Returns 30 Carvings to Kenya

Monday, July 13, 2020

Mijikenda Wood CarvingDENVER, COLORADO—The Denver Post reports that the Denver Museum of Nature and Science has repatriated 30 wooden carvings to the Mijikenda people of Kenya and northern Tanzania. The museum received the carvings as a gift in 1991, according to Stephen Nash, the museum’s director of anthropology and senior curator of archaeology, but are now thought to have been looted. The long, rectangular carvings with round heads, known as vigango, memorialize members of the community who have died and are thought to embody their spirits. “Once we realized that we were curating the physical embodiment of 30 dead people’s souls, that’s when we said ‘Look, the Mijikenda never had a chance for informed consent like you and I enjoy when disposing of our loved ones. We should not be curating people’s souls,” Nash said. The original site where the vigango stood is not known. To read about a monumental cemetery in northwest Kenya where nomadic herders buried their dead some 5,000 years ago, go to "Nomadic Necropolis."

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement