Showing results 13 - 24 of 28 for the month of February, 2010.

February 18, 2010

Asserting Egypt’s sovereignty over its cultural heritage

Posted at 3:01 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Zahi Hawass is continuing to campaign for the return of Egypt’s cultural treasures, with a clear cut strategy of why he is doing it & of which specific artefacts he is focusing his efforts on.

From:
Agence France Presse

Zahi Hawass, media-savvy guardian of Egypt’s past
By Christophe de Roquefeuil (AFP) – 15th February 20009

CAIRO — Egypt’s antiquities chief Zahi Hawass, at 62, still bubbles with excitement whenever he announces the latest discovery of a tomb or relic, his eyes lighting up under the brim of his trademark Indiana Jones-style hat.

Aside from his love of the media limelight, Hawass is locked in battle to assert Egypt’s sovereignty over its heritage, even if that means crossing swords with the world’s most prestigious museums.
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Cyrus Cylinder row stems from the British Museum’s broken promises

Posted at 2:06 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The current dispute over the Cyrus Cylinder stems largely from the fact that the loan of the artefact was promised by the museum, but has now been delayed so many times. The British Museum keeps trying to occupy some sort of moral high ground, despite the fact that they continue to drag their heels at every opportunity.

From:
The National (Abu Dhabi)

Political row over broken promises
Ed Lake
Last Updated: February 09. 2010 4:03PM UAE / February 9. 2010 12:03PM GMT

Given the steadily declining relations between the UK and Iran, with accusations of election-rigging and agent-provocateurism bouncing back and forth, it is remarkable that a collegial spirit has managed to endure between the Islamic republic and the British archaeological establishment for this long.

Still, whatever hopes there might have been for potsherd diplomacy would now seem to be dashed. Tehran has officially cut its ties with the British Museum. “We consider it a closed chapter,” Hassan Mohseni of Iran’s cultural heritage and tourism organisation told the press this week. Under the circumstances, it’s a suggestive figure of speech.
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February 17, 2010

Row over antiquities between Iran & British Museum continues

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

More coverage of the escalating dispute between Iran & the British Museum over the Cyrus Cylinder.

From:
Fars News Agency

News number: 8811171637
18:14 | 2010-02-06
Iran’s National Museum Drops Ties with British Museum

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran’s National Museum on Saturday cut ties with the British Museum in protest at the delayed implementation of an agreement held earlier between the two sides on sending the Cyrus Cylinder to Iran.

“Now Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) (as supervisor of Iran’s National Museum) makes this official announcement that it will have no relations with the British Museum as of Sunday,” Iranian Vice-President and ICHHTO Head Hamid Baqaei said in a press conference here in Tehran this afternoon.
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Iran breaks ties with the British Museum over Cyrus Cylinder

Posted at 1:59 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The dispute between Iran & the British Museum over the Cyrus Cylinder continues to drag on. Iran is taking further steps to cut ties with the British Museum, in the hope that this will force an earlier resolution to the situation.

From:
Museums Association

Iran cuts ties with British Museum
Gareth Harris
08/02/2010

Hamid Baghaei, head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organisation (ICHHTO), has cut ties with the British Museum (BM) after it delayed the loan of the Cyrus Cylinder. The sixth-century artefact was due to go on display at the Iran National Museum in Tehran last month.

The decision was announced during a press conference on Saturday according to the Tehran Times. But a spokeswoman for the British Museum said that the decision came as a “great surprise”, and added that the museum had finally agreed to loan the object to Iran only last week.
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How much cultural heritage is really loot

Posted at 1:45 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

The Parthenon Sculptures are just a small proportion of the many other cases of disputed artefacts around the world. The countries that currently posses them rarely admit that these pieces are anyting other than legitimately acquired & owned.

From:
Pravda

Heritage, Loot or Booty?
07.02.2010

Western Museums are brimming with cultural heritage…from other countries. The Elgin Marbles are just one set of tens of thousands of artefacts looted from distant lands during colonial or imperialist times. However, the same desecration of cultural heritage continues. How many of the 13,000 artefacts stolen from Baghdad National Museum are today in the United States of America?

The list was drawn up and given to Vice-President Richard (Dick) Cheney before the first US or British soldier set foot in Iraq. It was a shopping list of archaeological treasures which the White House cronies wanted to see on their shelves in Rhode Island, in Maryland, in Virginia. UNESCO claims that when the Baghdad National Museum was looted in April 2003, 13,000 objects disappeared. How many of these are sitting in private homes in the USA?
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February 11, 2010

A history of the world in one hundred disputed artefacts

Posted at 10:15 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Those living in the UK can not fail to have noticed the BBC’s ongoing series – the history of the world in one hundred objects, organised by British Museum director Neil MacGregor. This series due to run for much off 2010, promises to perpetuate his personal world view of the Universal Museum, while sidestepping the true nature of the debates surrounding many of the artefacts in his institution. There is an issue at stake here of how vast a mouthpiece the BBC has given him to expound his own views, without others being given a clear, proportional right of reply.

From:
Modern Ghana

A HISTORY OF THE WORLD WITH 100 LOOTED OBJECTS OF OTHERS: GLOBAL INTOXICATION?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.

It is perhaps indicative of the cultural climate of our times that the British Museum and the BBC could announce a programme with a pretentious title such as “A History of the World in 100 Objects”. (2) A pretence to serving the whole world, a title which indicates a wider view but hides in fact the reality of frantic efforts to preserve the interests of a few in the guise of the so-called “universal museums” which have come under some heavy criticisms in recent years. The project appears to be aimed at diverting attention from the fact that the tide of history is moving against the illegitimate detention of the cultural objects of others. It is aimed at impressing the masses about the alleged indispensable role of the major museums and gathering support for their continuing possession that is tainted with illegality and illegitimacy. In the process, public interest for the museum would be stimulated and information about the objects as considered necessary would be produced.

The last few years have seen major Western museums being criticised for purchasing looted objects. Leading American museums and universities have been forced to return to Italy looted artefacts that had been bought by the museums, knowing full well that the objects could only have been looted. Indeed, an American curator is in jail in Italy, waiting for her trial for criminal offences in connection with acquisition of Italian artefacts for her museum in the USA. Moreover, Egypt has renewed its demands for the return of the Rosetta Stone, the bust of Nefertiti and other items that have been in major Western museums for several decades. The Greeks have constantly been reclaiming the return of the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles and the completion of the magnificent New Acropolis Museum has exposed the hollow British arguments for retaining the marbles. The British public has overwhelmingly voted in favour of returning the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles to Athens whenever a poll was made. We should also remember that the Nigerians who have never forgotten the brutal invasion of Benin in 1897 are seeking the return of some of the 5000 objects looted by the British troops in their bloody aggression against a kingdom that resisted British imperialist expansion and hegemonial endeavours.
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Will Benin’s artefacts ever be exhibited in Benin?

Posted at 10:04 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

An exhibition of artefacts from Benin has taken place at the Ethnography Museum in Stockholm. Despite many calls for the repatriation of Benin artefacts though, it seems as though most are only displayed in museums outside the region.

From:
Nigerian Compass

Repartration of looted artefacts in Europe: Benin’s case can’t be different
Tuesday, 02 February 2010 00:00

Recently, the ethnography museum of Stockholm, Sweden hosted an exhibition and seminar on Benin court art and culture. Prince Edun Akenzua who headed the delegation from His Majesty, Omo n’ Oba n’ Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Eriduawua II of Benin to the international event discusses it and other salient issues relating to the Edo kingdom’s stolen artifacts in European museums with EMMANUEL AGOZINO. Excerpts:

What was the exhibition at the Ethnography Museum of Stockholm, Sweden, all about?
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Neil MacGregor talks about the Elgin Marbles & Cyrus Cylinder

Posted at 9:56 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

British Museum director, Neil MacGregor has given a talk, mentioning both the Elgin Marbles & the Cyrus Cylinder. He says that the sense of national identity that people get from these pieces is an example of seeing what one wants to see – but surely his own interpretation of the artefacts as part of a global story that can only be told when they are assembled together in the British Museum is far more of a digression from the original significance of these particular artefacts.

From:
Guardian

British Museum’s Neil MacGregor on the Parthenon marbles and Cyrus cylinder
Tuesday 2 February 2010 22.45 GMT
Charlotte Higgins

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, gave the first of the London Review of Books’ winter lectures, organised to celebrate the ­journal’s 30th birthday. He began by talking about John Dee’s obsidian ­mirror, in which the Elizabethan ­magus could supposedly see angels. That became MacGregor’s metaphor: we look at objects and find in them what we want to see. And so to the ­Parthenon marbles and the Cyrus ­cylinder (a clay cylinder inscribed with a decree from the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great). “A whole nation,” MacGregor said of the marbles, “has decided they embody something ­fundamental about Greek national identity. It is a prime example of ­seeing what you want to see.”
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Is France’s return of looted Nigerian artefacts an isolated act?

Posted at 1:46 pm in Similar cases

The French government has returned two looted artefacts to Nigeria. The question is whether this is the start of an extended process of dialogue over disputed cultural property, or merely a one-off isolated act of restitution.

From:
Modern Ghana

FRANCE RETURNS LOOTED ARTEFACTS TO NIGERIA: BEGINNING OF A LONG PROCESS OR AN ISOLATED ACT?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Sat, 30 Jan 2010

According to a report in the Nigerian Compass reproduced below, the French Government has returned to the Nigerian Government two artefacts looted during the colonial days. This is good news.

We have in various articles demonstrated the illegality, the illegitimacy and the immorality of detaining the cultural artefacts of others against their consent, whether the objects were looted, stolen or acquired under other dubious circumstances. We have urged Western museums that are full of such objects to endeavour to come to some acceptable arrangements with the owners. However, most Western museums have remained deaf to all reasonable pleas and demands for restitution.
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February 10, 2010

Franz Ferdinand lead singer supports the return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 2:10 pm in Elgin Marbles

Alex Kapranos, lead singer of the band Franz Ferdinand has spoken out in his Twitter feed on his support for the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece.

From:
alkapranos

Just discovered my father follows me on this thing. Hi Dad. Good luck getting your marbles back.
10:37 PM Feb 1st from web

alkapranos

Now he’s retired he spends his time campaigning to have the Parthenon Marbles returned to Greece where they were stolen from.
10:43 PM Feb 1st from web

alkapranos

Stolen by a Scot – a descendent of Robert The Bruce – then sold to the English for £30K.
10:47 PM Feb 1st from web

alkapranos

British Museum always trots out the same old patronising crap about how they look after them in a way the savages in Greece never could.
10:50 PM Feb 1st from web

Does the British Museum really need six more months to study the Cyrus Cylinder

Posted at 2:00 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

As the Cyrus Cylinder debate continues, the British Museum claims that it requires at least six months to study the newly found fragments. It is unclear though why it is necessary to do this now (and delay the already many times postponed loan), rather than wait until the cylinder is returned at the end of the loan period. Of course they could be assuming that others will have the same propensity to break promises as they do.

From:
Press TV (Iran)

London needs 6 months to study new cylinder pieces
Wed, 27 Jan 2010 17:27:00 GMT

The British Museum says it needs at least six more months to study the newly-found fragments of the ancient Cyrus cylinder.

The museum announced the discovery of new clay pieces in its storeroom, which seem to be copies of the Persian Cyrus cylinder, known as the world’s first charter of human rights.
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Taking Turkey’s past

Posted at 1:54 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Robbing the contents of tombs has been going on for as long as items of value have been enclosed in the tombs. Robbing the actual tombs themselves was not something that happened until the arrival of the English aristocracy in the nineteenth century.

From:
Today’s Zaman

[Digging up Turkey’s past] Tomb Raider: Charles Fellows in Lycia
27 January 2010, Wednesday
TERRY RICHARDSON ANTALYA

Robbing graves is a crime almost as old as the practice that unwittingly encouraged it — the burial of the dead with valuable objects. Gold death masks and other precious items proved too much of a temptation for unscrupulous “get rich quick” thieves in ancient Egypt, who tunneled their way into pyramid tombs in search of forbidden treasures.

Roman and Byzantine tombs were pillaged for their grave goods, and the “art” of grave robbing goes back over 2,000 years in China. Today, professional “tomb raiders” around the globe loot the burial places of past civilizations, from the graves of North American Indians to the tombs of ancient Chinese notables, and the international art market appears ever hungry for such antiquities, no matter how ill-gotten.
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