Showing results 1 - 12 of 15 for the month of September, 2010.

September 30, 2010

Has hanging onto other nations cultural property become more important than exhibiting our own?

Posted at 1:08 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

For many years, certain elements of the British Press liked to suggest that Greece was incapable of looking after the Parthenon Marbles if they ever were returned. During the construction of the New Acropolis Museum, questions were again raised about every possible aspect of the way the museum was being built & the way the artefacts would be displayed. The New Acropolis Museum does however have many parallels with the proposed Stone henge Visitor Centre.

Both Stone Henge & The Athenian Acropolis are iconic examples of their historical epochs. For a long time, both sites had planned on building new visitor centres, but the projects were plagued by delays lasting decades that stopped any meaningful progress. Now however, Greece has a brand new Acropolis Museum, while visitors to Stone Henge still have to make do with distinctly lacklustre visitor facilities that mainly consist of a tunnel around the road containing a gift shop & some information boards. The British Museum makes much of how the Parthenon Marbles can be seen in their institution for free, but on the other hand, Stone Henge (with or without visitor centre) charges an admission centre except to National Trust or English Heritage members.

New York Times

The Age of Austerity Challenges Stonehenge
Published: August 11, 2010

STONEHENGE, England — The prehistoric monument of Stonehenge stands tall in the British countryside as one of the last remnants of the Neolithic Age. Recently it has also become the latest symbol of another era: the new fiscal austerity.

Renovations — including a plan to replace the site’s run-down visitors center with one almost five times bigger and to close a busy road that runs along the 5,000-year-old monument — had to be mothballed in June. The British government had suddenly withdrawn £10 million, or $16 million, in financing for the project as part of a budget squeeze.
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UK church returning historic church bells to Chile

Posted at 12:58 pm in Similar cases

What is interesting about this story is that they are returning the bells because they felt that it was the right thing to do. There was no obligation to do so & no excess of pressure was required to make them realise that the should be restored to the location where they belonged.

BBC News

10 August 2010 Last updated at 07:50
Historic bells sent home to Chile from Swansea church

Three historic bells which were rung and later displayed in a Welsh church for almost 150 years are on their way home to Chile.

The bells were shipped from Santiago to Swansea, originally intended as scrap, when the Jesuit cathedral of La Campania burnt down in 1863.
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September 29, 2010

David Cameron says that Koh-i-Noor will not be returned

Posted at 8:53 pm in Similar cases

It is probably the most famous diamond in the world, with many parties claiming to be its true owners, but David Cameron has stated that the Koh-i-Noor should remain in the UK, with no likelihood of it being returned to India.

Agence France Presse

India wants Kohinoor diamond back. Cameron says no
(AFP) – 4 days ago

NEW DELHI — The real jewel in Britain’s actual crown will not be returning to India, Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday, as he ruled out any repatriation of the famed Kohinoor diamond.

The 105 carat gemstone set in the coronation crown of the British royals was mined in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
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What are the Benin Bronzes

Posted at 8:43 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The Open University has produced a short video that explains the story of the Benin Bronzes very clearly in less than three minutes. It would be interesting to see if the creator of this clip could be persuaded to do similar things for some other key restitution cases such as the Parthenon Sculptures.

Open University

Prepare to be Inspired…
The Benin Bronzes

Been inspired by the Benin Bronzes? Explore other topics and see what else inspires you.

What do the Benin Bronzes mean to you? Ground breaking art from the African continent, or a shameful symbol of Britain’s Imperial past?

The Arts Past and Present (AA100) investigates the collision of cultures and the impact on today’s world. It’s designed to excite and challenge your thinking on a host of historical as well as topical issues.

Whether you’re in search of Cleopatra, into sacred places, want to learn more about the Dalai Lama, Irish Nationalism or the Benin Bronzes we guarantee to take your interest further

Open University

British Prime Minister’s statements on the Koh-i-Noor diamond

Posted at 8:29 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of David Cameron’s comments about why he felt that the Koh-i-Noor diamond should not be returned to India.


British PM David Cameron speaks to NDTV: Full transcript
NDTV Correspondent, Updated: July 29, 2010 14:46 IST

New Delhi: British Prime Minister David Cameron who is on a visit to India, spoke about UK’s relation with Pakistan, WikiLeaks, British economy and Kate Moss among others in an exclusive interview to NDTV’s Dr Prannoy Roy.

Here is the full transcript of the interview:
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Indian TV show asks David Cameron about returning the Koh-i-Noor diamond

Posted at 5:02 pm in Similar cases

British Prime Minister David Cameron has been questioned about the Koh-i-Noor diamond during an interview on an Indian television show. I wold not say that this is an ambush as such – any high ranking British official visiting India ought to have had this item on the list of possible things that they would be asked about.

What is more disappointing is that the Prime Minister justified his answer by falling back on the many times discredited argument that returning it would set a precedent for emptying the museums & galleries of Britain. This argument has been proven in the past not to hold true though. Restitution issues are normally dealt with on a case by case basis – each is looked at on it its own merits. On this basis, the assumption that the return of one item would lead to the return of others implies that these cases have equal justification for return in the first place. So the implication of the statement that one return would lead to others is that all items in the museums are acquired in situations of dubious legality.

A second counter point is the fact that (as shown with the return of native American artefacts in the US) that many groups do not want return – in many cases, people are happy with artefacts where they are & accept that they were acquired legitimately. In other cases, they merely want their ownership of the artefact acknowledged, or rights of access to it.

Daily Mail

David Cameron ambushed on Indian TV over 105-carat Koh-i-noor diamond as country demands its return
By Jason Groves
Last updated at 6:00 PM on 29th July 2010

David Cameron has rejected a plea to return the fabled Koh-i-noor diamond – now the most famous of the Crown Jewels – to India.

There has been a growing clamour on the sub-continent for the repatriation of the gem, and in an interview on India’s NDTV channel the Prime Minister was asked directly if he would give it back.
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September 28, 2010

Disputed artefacts – famous for being famous…

Posted at 9:30 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

A recurrent theme with disputed artefacts is that they end up becoming popularly known for the dispute that surrounds them rather than for what they are in their own right – that is to say that they are famous for being famous. Few would dispute that the Parthenon Marbles are far more widely discussed now than if they had remained on the Parthenon – however, this should not be confused with the claims of the British Museum & others that their acquisition popularised them. They are not well know because they are in a well known museum (the British Museum has vast amounts of artefacts that few people have heard of) but are well known because of the controversy surrounding their ownership, or other similar issues that raise them to prominence. This can manifest itself in many other ways – the Mona Lisa for instance became more famous after it was stolen, as did Evard Munch’s The Scream.

Cases such as this often make it hard to stand back & see the works for their own intrinsic artistic value, as this is overshadowed by the controversy around them – they are however two largely separate strands that combine (with others) to form the sculptures as we perceive them today. Either of these strands could be removed, but would not stand alone in the same way if it was. Far from being an excuse for the actions of people such as the Seventh Earl of Elgin however, this should be seen perhaps more as an incitement to appreciate art for what it is, rather than merely noticing it because of its fame.

Wall Street Journal

JULY 27, 2010
What Is Lost When Works are Trophies

It’s interesting to contemplate how works of art, which museums generally want us to appreciate for their aesthetic values, can turn into trophies: emblems of issues or events that have nothing to do with their status as art.

Take Egon Schiele’s “Portrait of Wally” (1912), which goes on view at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan for three weeks starting Thursday, following an out-of-court settlement of the dispute over its ownership. In 1998 it had been seized by then-Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau from a Schiele exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, to which it had been lent by Vienna’s Leopold Museum. Mr. Morgenthau was acting on behalf of the estate of Lea Bondi Jaray. The heirs of the original owner held that the painting had been stolen from her by the Nazis and therefore did not belong to the Leopold Museum. “Portrait of Wally” may not be Schiele’s most important painting, but the legal case has certainly turned it into his most famous one.
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MP Keith Vaz asks British Government to return the Koh-i-Noor diamond

Posted at 9:11 pm in Similar cases

British MP Keith Vaz has asked the government to return the Koh-i-Noor diamond to India. Moves such as this are to be welcomed, although it is unclear why he sat through thirteen years of his party being in power & showing relative ambivalence to restitution issues, before suddenly raising the issue within a few weeks of being in opposition.

Calcutta Tube

British PM asked to discuss Kohinoor return to India
Posted by IANS-CT in Europe

London, July 24 (IANS) Keith Vaz, the Indian-origin British MP, wants the Koh-i-noor diamond to be returned to India and asks Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss the issue of its return during his visit to India next week.

Vaz said in a statement: ‘I believe that this is the perfect opportunity for the prime minister to discuss the issue of the Koh-i-Noor. It would be very fitting for the Koh-i-Noor to return to the country in which it was mined so soon after the diamond jubilee of the Indian republic and 161 years after its removal from India.’
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Australian Aboriginal leader laid to rest

Posted at 1:12 pm in Similar cases

The remains of an Australian Aboriginal leader that ended up in a Museum in the UK & then in an unmarked grave have no been returned to Australia & re-buried. This follows closely after the return of various Aboriginal remains by the US.

One Face in a Million

Aboriginal Leader Is Finally Laid To Rest After 170 Years

Posted by Will Byrne on Jul 13th, 2010 and filed under Featured News, World

Following more than 170 years of controversy, the final remains of one of Australia’s greatest Aboriginal leaders, the Noongar chieftain, Yagan, was laid to rest during a traditional ceremony in Western Australia on Saturday.
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September 27, 2010

India’s attempts to reclaim lost treasures

Posted at 9:32 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the attempts by India to secure the return of various historic artefacts.

Little India

India Seeks Lost Treasures

India is seeking UNESCO support to retrieve priceless antiquities, such as the Peacock Throne and the Kohinoor, looted by foreign invaders.
Archaeological Survey of India Director General Gautam Sengupta says, “Information is that most of the precious antique items which we lost in raids, attacks or loots during foreign invasions in the pre-independence period are spread over museums, mostly in European countries.”

No information is available about Shah Jahan’s Peacock throne, inlaid with precious stones, including the Kohinoor diamond, which was plundered by Nader Shah and taken to Persia in 1739.
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Australian Arts Minister calls for the return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 9:29 pm in Elgin Marbles

Australian MPs Virginia Judge & Barbara Perry are calling for the Britain to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

Daily Telegraph

Ministers lose their marbles
Gemma Jones Political Reporter
July 12, 2010 12:00AM

THE state’s infrastructure is creaking, public transport is overloaded and the hospital system is sick – but two Government ministers seem more interested in 2500-year-old marbles.

Arts Minister Virginia Judge and Local Government Minister Barbara Perry have decided to dabble in foreign affairs by demanding the return of the Elgin Marbles.
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US returns indigenous Australian remains

Posted at 9:12 pm in Similar cases

The Smithsonian Institute has returned the remains of nine Aborigines to Australia. This follows the numerous recent examples set by museums in the UK who have returned similar remains under the terms of the Human Tissue Act.

The Australian

Ancestral remains returning from US
Lanai Vasek
The Australian
July 05, 2010 12:00AM

THE ancestral remains of nine indigenous Australians will finally return home today after 60 years in a museum in the US.

The remains — taken from their burial places during the 1948 American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land — were handed back to indigenous representatives at a traditional smoking ceremony in Washington DC over the weekend.
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