Showing results 1 - 12 of 31 for the month of August, 2008.

August 29, 2008

How legal was Elgin’s Firman

Posted at 1:00 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

The Firman was an Ottoman legal document issued to Lord Elgin. It only survives in translation, but is used as the basis of proving the supposed legality of Elgin’s removal of the Parthenon Sculptures from Athens. A historian who has researched this document & other similar documents is now casting doubt over whether the firman actually gave Elgin the permissions that were claimed.

From:
The Times

August 29, 2008
Legality of Earl of Elgin’s acquisition challenged by scholar
Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent

The new Acropolis Museum may prove to be the most lavishly appointed white elephant in history. Nothing will change the view of the British Government that the intended centrepiece, the magnificently sculpted Elgin Marbles, must remain permanently in the British Museum.

Not that the museum will be empty. There will be 4,000 exhibits including the remaining Parthenon sculptures. But the crown jewels, the 247ft of the original 524ft frieze, 15 of 92 metopes and 17 figures from the pediments, all dating to the 5th century BC, will remain 1,500 miles away in London.
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Athens’ new roof gallery

Posted at 12:52 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

The Parthenon Gallery is in every sense the high point of a visit to the New Acropolis Museum. Even journalists who have initially been against the whole concept of the museum have come away awed by its creation of a suitable space for the reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.

From:
The Times

August 28, 2008
Athens welcomes the ghost of Phidias to new rooftop gallery
Marcus Binney, Architecture Correspondent

The new rooftop gallery built to display the Parthenon marbles is one of the most beautiful exhibition spaces in modern architecture.

Just as the Parthenon itself enjoys a 360-degree panorama of sparkling sea and green hills, the new ¤130 million gallery has a continuous view over the rooftops of Athens, interrupted only by the Acropolis itself. Sunlight fills the gallery through floor-to-ceiling glass, and the windows have such slender supports you might be standing in the open air enjoying blue skies and the crystal light which is the wonder of Attica.
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August 28, 2008

Pagans plan to worship on the Acropolis

Posted at 12:55 pm in Acropolis

After utilising other ancient temples in Athens for their ceremonies, the members of Ellinais a revival of the religion of Ancient Greece worshiping the Olympian gods are to perform a ceremony on the Acropolis Itself.

From:
International Herald Tribune

After 1,500 years, pagans plan Acropolis prayer
The Associated Press
Published: August 28, 2008

ATHENS, Greece: A small group of pagans pledged Thursday to hold a protest prayer among the ruined Acropolis temples, more than 1,500 years after Christians stamped out worship of the ancient Greek gods.

Group spokeswoman Doretta Peppa said the worshippers would pray Sunday to Athena — goddess of wisdom and patron of ancient Athens — to protect the 2,500-year-old site. Peppa said followers of the old religion object to the removal last year of hundreds of sculptural masterpieces from a tiny museum on the Acropolis to a large new building under the citadel.
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August 27, 2008

The New Acropolis Museum needs it’s Marbles to complete it

Posted at 12:51 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

The New Acropolis Museum as a building may now be almost complete – however, it will not be complete as a museum until it is able to display all the surviving Parthenon Sculptures under its roof.

From:
Spectator

Acropolis now
Wednesday, 27th August 2008
Henry Sands says Athens’s new museum is missing its Marbles

We have come to understand that missing sections from museum displays of ancient sculpture are the inevitable result of parts breaking off and becoming lost to the world. But at the New Acropolis Museum in Athens we know exactly where to find the stones that would fill those accusatory gaps.

The empty spaces act as a poignant reminder to the viewer that the collection is not complete — and that it will remain incomplete as long as the Elgin Marbles sit in the Duveen Room of the British Museum, their home since 1816. Now that there is a place to show them off, there is new sense of optimism among the Greeks that they may finally be reunited with the Marbles they believe to be rightfully theirs.
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August 23, 2008

Lectures on the Encyclopaedic Museum

Posted at 2:05 pm in British Museum, Events, Similar cases

James Cuno, Neil MacGregor, Phillipe De Montebello & Thomas Gaehtgens represent the astonishingly one sided collection of speakers lecturing in Chicago on the concept formerly known as the Universal Museum. (details of each lecture follow the main article).

From:
Chicago Art Institute

NEWS: The Art Institute of Chicago Presents: 360 Degrees: Art beyond Borders
22 Aug 2008

The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

27 September 2008–16 June 2009

[...]

Join us for a wealth of insightful and exciting 360 Degrees programming.

# Lectures: Four engaging lecture series occur throughout the season. In “The Fate of Encyclopedic Museums,” directors from the Art Institute, the Getty, the British Museum, and the Met discuss the role of the encyclopedic museum. Noted scholars also explore current and historical perspectives on globalization and Art Institute curators give their take on the encyclopedic nature of their collections.
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The Parthenon’s seismic resistance

Posted at 12:36 pm in Acropolis, Greece Archaeology

This article puzzles me slightly, as there has in the past been damage to the Parthenon from earthquakes. However, it appears that the damage that has been sustained is significantly less than one would have expected.

From:
France 24

Parthenon seismic resistance intrigues Japan
Friday 22 August 2008
By AFP

Japanese scientists will next month look into seismic resistance secrets in the design of the 2,500-year-old Parthenon which has withstood scores of quakes, a senior Greek archaeologist said on Friday.

“The Parthenon had great resilience to earthquakes, as did most classical Greek temples,” Maria Ioannidou, the archeologist in charge of conservation on the ancient Acropolis citadel where the Parthenon stands, told AFP.
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August 22, 2008

Peru wants to know origins of sunken treasure

Posted at 12:42 pm in Similar cases

Peru seems to be joining the ranks of Italy & Egypt in their current aggressive approach to secure the return of looted artefacts (with relative success).

From:
Associated Press

Peru wants to know origin of shipwrecked treasure
By CHRISTINE ARMARIO – 13 hours ago
Aug 20, 2008

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Peru’s government wants to know if 17 tons of silver coins recovered from a shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean last year were made there, complicating the legal quest to determine who rightfully owns the multimillion-dollar treasure.

Peru filed a claim Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tampa to determine where the coins originated, entering the fray over the $500 million loot found on a sunken ship by Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration. Odyssey has been fighting the Spanish government for ownership of the ship and its contents.
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August 21, 2008

A plea for fair & equal treatment of cultural property

Posted at 12:52 pm in Similar cases

Dr Kwame Opoku responds to this article in Culture Kiosque reviewing James Cuno’s book.

From:
Culture Kiosque

READER COMMENT: A PLEA FOR FAIR AND EQUAL TREATMENT
By Dr. Kwame Opoku

NEW YORK, 21 AUGUST 2008 — Dr. Kwame Opoku, a retired legal adviser in Vienna, Austria, responds to Culturekiosque contributor Alan Behr’s recent review of James Cuno’s new book, “Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle over Our Ancient Heritage” Princeton University Press).
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August 19, 2008

More on Stealing Athena

Posted at 6:47 pm in Elgin Marbles

More on the historical novel Stealing Athena. If nothing else, books such as this raise awareness of the background of the Elgin Marbles & in many cases lead people to find out more about the subject.

From:
Toronto Sun

Sun, August 17, 2008
Book in brief
By YVONNE CRITTENDEN

[...]

STEALING ATHENA
By Karen Essex
This intriguing novel by Karen Essex is based on a true story of obsession. It’s about the two ancient Greeks who developed the glory that is the Parthenon and the man who, centuries later, rescued — or stole, depending on one’s point of view — the best of the remaining marbles for his own country: England. Read the rest of this entry »

August 18, 2008

The return of Namibian Skulls by Germany

Posted at 12:45 pm in Similar cases

Kwame Opoku writes about the return of human remains to Africa from Germany & how the process is frustrated by the need for official requests to be made in the correct way.

From:
Modern Ghana

BONES DO NOT DIE: GERMANS TO RETURN NAMIBIAN SKULLS.
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Sun, 17 Aug 2008

“I, the great general of the German troops, send this letter to the Herero people… All Hereros must leave this land… Any Herero found within the German borders with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I shall no longer receive any women or children; I will drive them back to their people. I will shoot them. This is my decision for the Herero people.” (The German commander General von Trotha)

We have had the occasion to refer to the problem of the thousands of African human remains that are still in European museums many decades after independence and the duty to repatriate them on dignified terms and conditions. *

As indicated in the report below, the Germans have stated their willingness to return 47 Namibian skulls. However, the Germans are insisting on an official request from the Namibian government. The Namibian Prime Minister, Nahas Angula, has rightly responded that when the Germans were taking away those skulls they did not ask anybody for permission.
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Avoiding the subject of provenance

Posted at 12:43 pm in Similar cases

Even otherwise excellent books published by museums, can tend to gloss over how items came to leave their homelands.
If museums aren’t ashamed of how artefacts were acquired, then why don’t they discuss it clearly.

From:
Modern Ghana

ONCE MORE BENIN: REVIEW OF BENIN: ROYAL ARTS OF A WEST AFRICAN KINGDOM BY KATHLEEN BICKFORD BERZOCK
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Fri, 15 Aug 2008

This book corresponds to what I think the average visitor to an exhibition needs: a short introduction to the subject-matter, with illustrations and sufficient information for the reader to understand the significance of the theme without being burdened by too many pages.
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August 17, 2008

James Cuno & cultural property

Posted at 5:50 pm in Acropolis, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

James Cuno wants trade in cultural properties to be a free market – because his institution would stand to gain from this, being relatively wealthy. Suffice to say, he arguments against Cuno’s reasoning have been covered many times already.

From:
Culture Kiosque

A HUMANIST PLEA FOR FREE-RANGING ANTIQUITIES
By Alan Behr
NEW YORK, 14 AUGUST 2008

There are few subjects in law more contentious than property rights, and when property stirs the emotions, there can be no end to the bickering. Divorce proceedings are notorious for that, as anyone knows who has ever battled a soon-to-be-ex-spouse to exhaustion over a sofa, clock or spaniel of no value or charm.

Nations can play that game too, and because they do it with antiquities, they are finding that the Zeitgeist is in their favor, reports James Cuno in his new book, Who Owns Antiquity? (Princeton University Press, 256 pages). Cuno is the president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago — one of the encyclopedic art museums (to use Cuno’s phrase) that are the quiet protagonists of his book. They are the museums that, like bees ranging over a broad field, pollinate the world with the art, history and culture of its constituent regions. The Elgin Marbles were carved in Athens and the Rosetta Stone was found in Egypt, but they are now displayed at the British Museum, in London. The Pergamon Altar was built by the Greeks, removed from what is now Turkey and is on view in Berlin. I used to be able to take a ten-minute walk to The Metropolitan Museum to see the Euphronios krater , one of the finest surviving bowls of classical Greece, but I can’t do that anymore because it was packed off — not to Greece, but to Italy.
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