March 24, 2011
Looting of artefacts, particularly during invasions & times of occupation, is something that has gone on for thousands of years. More recently though, some cases have gained a much higher profile & in some instances, this has led to the disputed artefacts being voluntarily returned.
The National (UAE)
Homelands seek to reclaim art gone astray
Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011
According to the Book of Chronicles in the Bible’s Old Testament, “King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem and took away the treasures of the Lord’s temple and of the royal palace. He took everything, including the gold shields that Solomon had made.”
Seizing the artworks of a country or a people has always been used as a politically motivated cultural rape in times of conflict. Thus, artworks of disputed ownership have always been in the news. Just last week Germany again rejected Egypt’s demand to return its 3,350-year-old bust of Nefertiti, and there have been battles over ancient Etruscan artwork and Aztec artefacts, not to mention the Elgin Marbles, a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural artefacts that were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. They were brought to Britain by Lord Elgin in the early 1800s, remain in the British Museum and look likely to stay there.
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