Showing results 13 - 24 of 40 for the month of January, 2011.

January 24, 2011

Do international cultural property laws create a split market depending on when artefacts were acquired?

Posted at 1:59 pm in Similar cases

International laws such as Unidrois convention that deal with cases of disputed cultural property (Through their adoption by UNESCO) are seen by many as a good thing – although clearly not by all, as many countries have yet to subscribe to these conventions. The conventions do not act retrospectively however – so there is a strong argument that they have created a division in the market – between those artefacts acquired before the convention came into force & those acquired afterwards. Many collectors fear that these conventions are devaluing their collections – but this point is counterbalanced byt the fact that is the artefact was acquired legitimately & has good provenance (which is the only real way of proving that it was acquired legitimately) then there should not be any problems.

From:
New York Times

Auctions
Wanted: Antiquities Beyond Reproach
By SOUREN MELIKIAN
Published: December 17, 2010

NEW YORK — The impact of the Unidroit convention, adopted by Unesco when endeavoring to protect the artistic heritage of mankind, starting with its archaeological treasures, is beginning to make itself as never before, although not quite in the way that its promoters expected.

By all accounts, the terrifying destruction of archaeological sites goes on, from Syria to Afghanistan to Nepal. But on the auction scene the consequence of Unidroit, to which only a few countries subscribe, is that some collectors live in fear that their favorite game, buying the relics of antiquity, may soon end. Many suspect that objects that cannot be proved to have been acquired before 1970 — the cutoff date set by the Unidroit convention — will become financially worthless or exceedingly difficult to negotiate.
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Strong legal framework & international collaboration are the key to reclaiming disputed artefacts

Posted at 1:48 pm in Elgin Marbles, Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

Greek Ministry of Culture Acting Deputy General Director of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki has given an interview in China, indicating what she sees as the way forward (as it applies to both Greece & China) in securing the restitution of disputed artefacts. this is interesting, particularly int he light of the recent conference, suggesting that Greece may now be seriously considering following Italy’s lead in taking legal action to secure the return of artefacts – something that it has always tried to avoid in the past.

From:
People’s Daily (China)

Interview: Strong legal framework, int’l collaboration key in reclaiming antiquities: Greek expert
10:14, December 18, 2010

A strong legal framework and international collaboration are the main keys in efforts to reclaim antiquities with success, for Greece or China, stressed Greek expert Maria Andreadaki-Vlazaki in an interview with Xinhua on Friday.

A country rich in cultural relics which due to historical and other reasons have been illegally transported abroad in many cases, Greece struggles for decades for their return back home.
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January 23, 2011

New South Wales premier supports return of Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 6:41 pm in Elgin Marbles

Following on from the recent expression of support for the return of the Elgin Marbles by the NSW state Arts Minister, the State’s Premier is also adding her endorsement to the campaign.

From:
Athens News Agency

12/24/2010
NSW premier supports return of Parthenon Marbles

Australian politician Kristina Keneally, premier of New South Wales, announced during an event for Greek-Australian media on Sunday that she has become an honorary member of the Australians for the Return of the Parthenon Marbles Committee and supports their return to Greece.

According to the radio station SBS, Keneally said the demand for the marbles return was “fair” and that they would be returning to their “rightful home”.

“The government of New South Wales is proud to support this demand for the return of the Marbles to Greece and its people,” she said.

Town of Boort in Australia hopes that new cultural centre will facilitate Aboriginal artefact restitution

Posted at 3:10 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

It is hoped the a new cultural centre in Boort, Loddon Shire, will enable the return of various Aboriginal artefacts currently in the British Museum. This was of course, a large part of the purpose behind Greece’s New Acropolis Museum – which has so far met with minimal acknowledgment by the British Museum.

From:
Bendigo Advertiser

Cultural centre proposed for Boort
LAUREN HENRY
15 Dec, 2010 04:00 AM

A PROPOSED cultural and environmental centre in Boort could be an avenue for the Loddon Shire town to retrieve Aboriginal artefacts valued at $4.5 million from the British Museum.

The proposal for the multimillion dollar centre includes an art gallery, a regional museum, accommodation, a cafe and gift store to sell regional produce, and educational and conference facilities.
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World heritage, cultural property, the Parthenon & the Elgin marbles – followup to Athens conference

Posted at 3:04 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

A followup to the conference on the return of and protection of cultural property, held in Athens in December. Interestingly, the final paragraph suggests that new initiatives for the return of the Parthenon Marbles are finally being explored by the Greek government.

From:
SAE

SAE
“World Cultural Heritage, the Parthenon and its Marbles are not tradable”
Athens, 13.12.2010

The institutional framework for cultural heritage, in terms of international ethics, protection, legal practice, diplomatic approach, international collaboration efforts and other relevant issues, the main focus being on the issue of the Parthenon Marbles, were discussed during the international conference organized on Friday at the New Acropolis Museum by the Foundation for International Legal Studies – I. Krispis, the Kapodistrian University of Athens, the Acropolis Museum and the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE).
“The return of all those masterpieces that constitute our cultural heritage is now more imperative than ever” stressed in his message Minister of the State, Harris Pamboukis, indicating that “the course towards reclaiming and diplomatic pressure is difficult and time consuming, however our cultural treasures have a new modern home, the New Acropolis Museum, located in their place of origin. The argument is irrefutable”.

The message of Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Demetris Dollis, responsible for Greeks Abroad was also on the same wavelength, who is currently on an official visit in Australia.
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January 15, 2011

Zahi Hawass reflects on the campaign for the return of Egypt’s stolen artefacts

Posted at 5:11 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Zahi Hawass looks back as the campaign he has spearheaded for the return of looted Egyptian antiquities in museums around the world.

From:
Asharq Alawsat

Egypt’s Stolen Artifacts Must Be Returned!
10/12/2010
By Dr. Zahi Hawass

When the campaign to restore Egypt’s stolen antiquities first began, the world – particularly the archeological community – was surprised by the force of our call and insistence that our stolen artifacts and heritage be returned to us. The initial rallying call for our antiquities to be returned to their homeland was made from the heart of the British Museum, after I was invited to give a lecture there.

After the lecture, the museum curator invited British intellectuals and several politicians to a dinner that was held in one of the museums halls, where I noticed that a number of Egyptian antiquities were on display. Such antiquities included the magnificent statue of King Ramses II, the greatest Egyptian pharaoh of them all, as well as a statue of King Tuthmosis III, who has been nicknamed the “Napoleon of Ancient Egypt” as he is credited with expanding the ancient Egyptian empire as far north as Anatolia and as far south as the fourth Cataract of the Nile [Dar al-Manasir]. After dinner, the museum curator delivered a pleasant speech welcoming me to the British Museum; the curator also paid tribute to British-Egyptian relations in the field of archeology and praised the cooperation that exists between the British Museum and Egypt.
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Glasgow Museums to return Aboriginal artefacts to Australia

Posted at 2:46 pm in Similar cases

Scotland is due to hand back some more Aboriginal artefacts to Australia following negotiations with Glasgow City Council. This follows earlier previous returns made by museums in Edinburgh.

From:
The Herald (Scotland)

Aboriginal remains reclaimed
Phil Miller, Arts Correspondent
10 Dec 2010

Glasgow’s museums are to return the skeletal remains of three indigenous Australians to their home country.

The executive committee of Glasgow City Council yesterday agreed that the remains, including skulls, be returned to the Australian Government, in the latest of a series of repatriations in the last 10 years.
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The agreement between Peru & Yale University for Inca Artefact return

Posted at 12:56 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the deal reached between the government of Peru & Yale University for the return of various artefacts from Machu Picchu.

From:
Realclearworld

December 08, 2010
Peru president says Yale to return Inca artifacts
Carla Salazar

Peru’s president announced Friday that Yale University has agreed to return thousands of artifacts taken away from the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu nearly a century ago.

The university issued a statement a few hours later expressing satisfaction at the results of its talks with Peru. The artifacts had been at the center of a bitter dispute for years, with Peru filing a lawsuit in U.S. court against the school.
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January 14, 2011

Free admission and no deaccessioning – holy cows for Britain’s national museums?

Posted at 2:21 pm in British Museum

The British Museum regularly makes much of the fact that the Elgin Marbles in their collection can be seen free of charge – but never enters into a debate about whether this is really to everyone’s benefit or not. The admission to the Acropolis Museum for instance is set at a level that it is easily affordable to most, yet this is somehow automatically seen by the British Museum as a bad thing.

Brian Sewell is not someone who is generally seen as a friend of the campaign for reunification of the Parthenon Marbles looked in previous articles at what the price of free admission to museums is – and whether resources could be better utilised across the culture sector if charges were introduced.

He now looks further, at whether some deaccessioning should be allowed. Traditionally, the UK has had very strict laws in this regard compared to the US, but there are arguments for allowing museums to refine their collections & reduce the cost of storing worthless artefacts.

From:
Evening Standard

It’s time to sacrifice some sacred cows
By Brian Sewell
09.12.10

The great (but not necessarily good) artists who put themselves forward as spokesmen for their profession have this year been very loud in their objection to cuts in state funding for themselves, for galleries, museums and all other institutions of the “creative industries” in which their work is exhibited. To these august orators and signatories of open letters in the press, their art is a sacred cow never to be fed short rations, never to be slaughtered; to others, however, they — and never mind their art — are fat cats in feather beds, or pigs with snouts in troughs, and short rations must be borne by them as well as by the rest of us.

Both views have some merit but neither represents the truth. Those of us who hold the middle view see the nation’s crisis as one from which the arts must not be exempt — we cannot go on fiddling while Rome burns — but must survive it in a fitter state than now. Heaven-sent may not be quite the suitable term, but the crisis has brought us an unexpected opportunity for radical revision of the way we run and fund the arts and we should take advantage of it to think what has hitherto been quite unthinkable.
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Looted treasure from Beijing’s Summer Palace up for auction at Christies in Hong Kong

Posted at 2:03 pm in Similar cases

Both of the major auction houses dealing with fine art seem to be equally comfortable about selling looted & disputed artefacts. In many cases however, subsequent public outcry has led to postponement of the sale. In this case, Christies in Hong Kong is selling yet more artefacts that came from Beijing’s Summer Palace. This looting during the ransacking of the Summer Palace is particularly relevant of course, as it took place under the instruction of the Eighth Earl of Elgin – the son of Lord Elgin who removed the sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens.

From:
Artinfo

Looted Imperial Treasure Hits the Block at Christie’s Hong Kong

HONG KONG— There were just three lots in the sale of imperial treasures from the Fonthill Collection at Christie’s Hong Kong on December 1, but they attracted intense interest and raked in a total of HK$226.3 million ($29 million). The reason? Their links to one of the most infamous acts of foreign plunder inflicted on 19th-century imperial China.

The Fonthill Collection was the creation of a passionate collector by the name of Alfred Morrison (1821-1897). The Chinese works in the Christie’s sale came to him via one Lord Loch of Drylaw, who served as private secretary to Lord Elgin on the latter’s fateful mission to China at the end of the Second Opium War. Lord Loch acquired the plundered items after the 1860 destruction and looting by French and British troops of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing.
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January 13, 2011

Cusco Students are pleased with the agreement with Yale University over Inca artefacts

Posted at 2:08 pm in Similar cases

Students at Peru’s University of San Antonio Abad in Cusco are proud that their university has been selected as the destination to house the Inca artefacts once they are returned by Yale University.

From:
Wide PR

December 08, 2010
Escaped to Peru
Cusco Students Approve of Inca Artifacts Deal With Yale

Peru has improved since the signing of a deal between Yale University and the Peruvian Government for the return of Inca artifacts from Machu Picchu.
Students in the Andean city of Cusco, Peru feel that the American University of Yale has responded well to their protests for the return of around 40 thousand artifacts. The artifacts were removed from the famous archaeological site of Machu Picchu in the 1920’s.

The associated press recently announced that a tentative deal had been agreed between Yale and the Peruvian Government for a return of all artifacts.
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Getty Villa says farewell to Cult Statue of a Goddess as it returns to Sicily

Posted at 1:58 pm in Similar cases

The Getty Villa’s Cult Statue of a Goddess is returning to Sicily, where it is thought to have been illegally excavated in the 1970s. This decision to return the statue follows earlier refusals when the museum previously insisted that it had acted in good faith when purchasing the sculpture. This is Sicily’s second successful artefact restitution in recent weeks, following the Morgantina Silver returned by New York’s Metropolitan Museum.

Various other artefacts (currently the sculpture of the Agrigento Youth) are being loaned to the Getty by Italy in return for the ongoing restitution programme. This is a similar arrangement to the offer that has previously been put forward by Greece to the British Museum as a proposal to enable the return of the Parthenon Sculptures.

LA Times

Getty Villa prepares to say farewell to its goddess
The museum welcomes the culture minister of Sicily, where the ancient sculpture will return, ending decades of contention over looted artworks.
By Mike Boehm, Los Angeles Times
December 7, 2010

To look at her — 71/2 feet tall atop her earthquake-resistant pedestal, her face serene, her limestone robes rippling in an unfelt wind — is not just to appreciate a pinnacle of ancient Greek statuary, but to experience a semblance of how divinity must have felt to awestruck pagans.

And now the great goddess, once described as “the greatest piece of classical sculpture in … any country outside of Greece and Great Britain,” not to mention the most costly antiquity the J. Paul Getty Trust ever acquired, is about to depart.
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