Horn beakers
A set of graduated horn beakers are among the items to return to Ethiopia.

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The items (pictured) are now due to return to Ethiopia following an agreement reached between the embassy and the vendor.

The items are a Coptic bible on vellum in a leather satchel with an Ethiopian cross and a set of graduated horn beakers.

According to the embassy the beakers are 19th century but the age of the cross, bible and satchel is not yet certain and analysis will be undertaken. However, it is believed they could be early- to mid-18th century.

Coptic bible and satchel

A Coptic bible on vellum in a leather satchel was part of the items withdrawn from the Dorset auction.

Busby of Bridport was due to offer the items in its June 17 sale with a collective estimate of around £700. The items had been consigned from the estate of Major- General William Arbuthnot, a serving member of the late 19th century British expedition to Abyssinia, which culminated in the battle of Maqdala between British and Abyssinian forces.

The embassy contacted the auction house on June 9 about the return of the “looted artefacts from Maqdala”.

Beyene Gebremeskel, deputy head of mission at the embassy, said: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Busby. These items are of immense cultural, spiritual and historical value to Ethiopians. Current and future generations of Ethiopians are deserving of the restitution of their cultural heritage, so we very much look forward to returning these precious items in due course.”