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Victorian punitive expeditions: Orientalist rationalisations behind the looting of colonial artefacts by Mona Zutshi Opubor

In the Victorian era, notions of civilisation, cultural superiority, and the beneficence of the British in India and Africa came into conflict with colonial art and treasure, indicative of advanced culture and high degrees of civilisation. The Moonstone, a fictional Indian diamond stolen by a rogue and murderous British army officer in a punitive expedition, offers parallels to the Benin Bronzes seized by British troops three decades later. This article explores these artefacts, as well as the complex and contradictory propaganda emerging following these punitive expeditions which celebrated the stolen treasure while simultaneously denigrating its creators.

Date created: 
Monday, March 23, 2020
Attribution for this resource:
Victorian punitive expeditions: Orientalist rationalisations behind the looting of colonial artefacts by Mona Zutshi Opubor, All rights reserved.
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