Showing results 1 - 12 of 29 for the month of February, 2009.

February 28, 2009

Are there problems with the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 4:46 pm in Greece Archaeology, New Acropolis Museum

Reports have appeared in the Greek Press suggesting a range of architectural problems with the New Acropolis Museum. One suspects that the people spreading these stories may well be the same groups of local architects who also made false allegations in the past about how the construction of the museums was destroying artefacts on the site when in fact it was designed to deliberately avoid them. What they are trying to achieve with this story is unclear however.

Athens Plus

Athens museums in transition

Puzzling problems in structure of capital’s star venue reported just months ahead of official opening

Three of the city’s top cultural institutions are in the news at the moment with the buzz in Greek media about further construction problems at the New Acropolis Museum and the exciting renovation and expansion projects currently under way at the Byzantine and Christian and National Archaeological museums. Read the rest of this entry »

February 27, 2009

The difficultues of recovering looted artefacts

Posted at 4:26 pm in Similar cases

Seeing the difficulties encountered by China in recent weeks, is there any hope for recovering Indian artefacts located abroad, other than making direct efforts to buy them back (a strategy that China has been involved with in the past)?

Economic Times (India)

Hard to reclaim National Artefacts
27 Feb 2009, 0321 hrs IST, ET Bureau

The failure of a Chinese group to stop the auction of two bronze artefacts looted by Anglo-French forces from the Imperial summer palace at Yuanmingyuan during the second Opium War in 1860, has vast implications. The bronze heads of a rat and a rabbit caught the attention of a Chinese cultural and heritage association when they were displayed by Christie’s as part of the art collection of French fashion’s haute couple Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge.

Not only did the Paris tribunal reject the petition, it also ordered the Chinese organisation to pay Christie’s and Berge e1,000 ($1,274 ) each, as costs. Provenance — the record of origin — is the mantra by which the world of fine art survives, but all too often a blind eye is turned to the more shady aspects of their acquisition.
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Jackie Chan’s support for recovery of looted Chinese Artefacts

Posted at 4:16 pm in Similar cases

Kung-Fu star Jackie Chan has added his support to the campaign to the campaign to recover for China the artefacts being auctioned from the collection of Yves Saint Lauren. This is not the first time that Jackie Chan has spoken out about the looted cultural property that fill many of the major museums of the West.

The Times

February 27, 2009
Buy them back
China could have regained its summer palace bronzes by opening its chequebook

China has come out fighting in its battle against the sale in Paris of two looted sculptures from the collection of Yves Saint Laurent. Literally.

Jackie Chan, the movie star-cum-martial arts wizard, has entered the row, his fists whirring like helicopter blades, to demand the return of the two bronzes. Removed when British and French forces sacked the Old Summer Palace in Beijing 1860, the two sculptures were knocked down to anonymous bidders for €14 million each in a Christie’s sale orchestrated by Saint Laurent’s partner, Pierre Bergé.
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China’s claims on the Yves Saint Lauren bronze sculptures

Posted at 3:42 pm in Similar cases

China has drawn significant attention to the artefacts being auctioned by Christies that is is alleging were looted. Historically though, there was criticism at the time of the actions surrounding the acquisition of these artefacts.

Modern Ghana

By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Thu, 26 Feb 2009

In looking up the background surrounding the proposed auction by Christie’s, I came across some materials which I found very interesting and would like to share with readers. One of them was the statement attributed to Charles Gordon, British soldier, the other by the French writer, Victor Hugo. There is also the offer to return the objects in return for recognition of human rights by China.

The nature and extent of the destruction of the Old Summer Palace, the Gardens of Perfect Brightness, in Peking (now Beijing) in 1860 by Anglo-French troops and the looting even shocked soldiers who took part in the adventure. This act of aggression is regarded even to this day by the Chinese as a symbol of national shame and a warning of the dangers of foreign domination.
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How China could regain its lost relics

Posted at 3:27 pm in Similar cases

Following the attention drawn to the sale of Chinese artefacts formerly owned by Yves Saint Lauren, a number of possible solutions to the issue have been suggested.

UPI Asia

How China can regain its lost relics
By Wu Zuolai
Guest Commentator
Published: February 26, 2009

Beijing, China — A Paris court Tuesday rejected a petition by a group of Chinese lawyers to stop the auction house Christie’s from auctioning off a pair of Chinese antiques. The bronze heads of a rat and a rabbit were looted more than 150 years ago by Anglo-French allied forces during the Second Opium War in 1860.

As the court allowed the bidding to go forward on these Chinese cultural relics, stolen from Beijing’s Summer Palace, I began to worry that the Chinese people would respond with emotion rather than reason. As a result, a cultural issue would become a political issue between France and China; imagined, politicized feelings would become real national and racial feelings.
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Strikes shut down the Acropolis

Posted at 3:16 pm in Acropolis, New Acropolis Museum

The New Acropolis Museum needs to exist within an operating framework where it is not constantly threatened by the strikes that regularly close many of Greece’s archaeological sites.

Easy Bourse (France)

Protest Shuts Down Athens Acropolis – Culture Ministry
Thursday February 26th, 2009 / 14h38

ATHENS (AFP)–Protesting workers Thursday shut down the Athens Acropolis and planned to keep up their demonstration until the weekend, the culture ministry said.
About 20 axed contract workers blocked the entrance to the monument Thursday morning, ministry spokesman George Mouroutis told AFP.
“The gates were blocked this morning,” Mouroutis said. “The protest is supposed to continue until Saturday.” Read the rest of this entry »

February 26, 2009

Cyrus Cylinder lent to Iran

Posted at 3:04 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The Cyrus Cylinder will return to Iran temporarily – but only in exchange for numerous Iranian artefacts being lent to the British Museum. Whilst such reciprocal lending agreements can increase mobility of museum collections, at the same time, the fact that such an arrangement is entered into can legitimise the ownership of artefacts of disputed provenance.

Far News Agency

Cyrus Charter to Be Taken Home from UK

TEHRAN (FNA)- Officials from Iran National Museum are in talks with their counterparts from the British Museum to borrow the famous Charter of the Cyrus the Great for a few months to put it on public display at home.

Deputy chairman of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization Hamid Baqaee, told the Islamic republic news agency in London that Tehran was to transfer the baked-clay cylinder to Iran after finalizing the ongoing talks with the British Museum where is the house of the charter which is considered as the first human rights declaration.
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Who took the animal heads from China

Posted at 1:12 pm in Similar cases

The Daily Telegraph looks at how the heads being auctioned from Yves Saint Lauren’s collection came to leave China in the first place. In response to this auction, China is now tightening regulation on import & export of artefacts from China.

Daily Telegraph Blogs

So who did loot those French-Italian animal heads?
Posted By: Richard Spencer at Feb 25, 2009 at 09:04:00 [General]
Posted in: Foreign Correspondents

Not surprisingly, the Chinese government and people have been unable to persuade the French or Christie’s to stop the sale of two bronze animal heads looted from the Old Summer Palace in Beijing.

The heads – the rabbit and the rat – are part of the Yves St Laurent collection, being sold by his former lover and business partner, Pierre Berge. They go under the hammer later today (that’s Wednesday). Read the rest of this entry »

February 25, 2009

Eight reasons why the Elgin Marbles should be returned to Greece

Posted at 1:11 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

Along similar lines to this piece looking at the arguments for & against the restitution of the Parthenon Sculptures, here are eight key reasons why they should be returned.

American Chronicle

Eight Reasons: Why the Parthenon Sculptures must be returned to Greece
Nicolas Mottas
February 23, 2009

The date has been announced. On June 20th, the New Acropolis Museum of Athens will be inaugurated, opening its gates to the public. Crouching at the foot of the Acropolis rock, the brand new Museum is consisting the forefront of Greece’s continual effort for the restoration of the Parthenon Marbles. The opening of the 130 million Euro ultra-modern building, which covers almost 14,000 square meters of exchibition space, dismantles the years-long argument that there isn’t a proper place to host the ancient Sculptures in Athens. But, actually, the new Museum isn’t the only reason which advocates in favour of Parthenon’s Sculptures back to Greece – there are, at least, seven more points:

1. Lord Elgin action’s illegality: Thomas Bruce, then British ambassador in Istanbul, did not have the legal right to remove (in 1801) the ancient masterpieces from the Parthenon. Officially, Elgin obtained a ‘firman’ from the Ottoman authorities but when the British Parliament asked to examine it, he couldn’t submit it. What he submitted was an italian translation of the official document. I reproduce from an interesting article of the American Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, Inc: “Specialists in Ottoman Law point out that the document does not carry the signature and seal of the Sultan or his customary invocation to God, and without them, Elgin and by extention the British Museum have no legal evidence of ownership of the Parthenon Sculptures” (Newsletter, Nov.2008).
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China won’t trade artefacts for human rights

Posted at 1:00 pm in Similar cases

China has rejected the peculiar offer proposed by the partner of the late Yves Saint Lauren, to exchange artefacts (that are arguably looted) for human rights in Tibet.

Asia Times (Hong Kong)

CHINA: Won’t Trade Art Objects For Rights in Tibet
Written by Antoaneta Bezlova

BEIJING, Feb 24 (IPS) – As nationalistic passions burn over the fate of looted Chinese artworks auctioned in Paris this week, Beijing is attempting to keep the focus on past humiliations by Western powers and away from delicate issues like human rights and China’s handling of Tibet.

The twisted tale of two animal heads, cast in bronze, that once adorned the Qing dynasty pleasure gardens in Beijing and disappeared, allegedly in pillaging by British and French armies in 1860, took yet another turn last week when their current owner suggested he would return them if Beijing agreed to free Tibet.
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New Acropolis Museum means a new excuse will be needed by the British Museum

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

Whilst the British Museum regularly likes to imply that the building of the New Acropolis Museum will have no effect on the validity of the campaign to reunify the Parthenon Marbles, most commentators who have seen the building have the opposite opinion.

Stuff (New Zealand)

Ancients modernised at New Acropolis
By NIKKI MacDONALD – The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 25 February 2009

The British will have to come up with a new excuse to hang on to the Parthenon frieze sculptures known as the Elgin Marbles. With the polished spaces of Athens’ New Acropolis Museum about to open, there can be no suggestion Greece lacks an appropriate stage to show off the ancient marble reliefs.

Conceived 30 years ago, the museum was to have opened before the 2004 Olympic Games, but it is only now nearing completion. The 130 million euro ($325m) building at the foot of the Acropolis, the imposing rocky outcrop bearing the Parthenon temple, is finished. The reception space is open, but the upper galleries remain cordoned off, except to us.
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February 23, 2009

Is virtual repatriation the way forward?

Posted at 12:39 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Virtual reunification is often put forward as a means of resolving cultural property disputes. Whilst there have been notable uses of technology for this purpose, the proposals are not normally seen by both parties involved in a dispute as an acceptable solution.

Ulster University

Virtual Repatriation – The Way Forward
23rd February 2009

Dr Bill Hart, an expert on Sierra Leone’s rich artistic heritage, makes a good sound on a 19th century ceremonial horn

University of Ulster academic Dr Bill Hart is to play a key role in a multi-disciplinary research initiative that will make Sierra Leone’s rich cultural heritage accessible to a worldwide audience.
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