Showing results 1 - 12 of 1,556 for the category: Similar cases.

October 27, 2014

Expropriation of artefacts as a demonstration of power

Posted at 9:55 pm in Similar cases

This article is prompted by the current state of affairs in Iraq & Syria, where ISIS fighters are systematically destroying heritage from cultures that do not fit entirely into their worldview. This is not a new approach however & has been going on for as long as people can remember. The means & the stated aims might vary, but the end result – denigration of the culture of the local population – is invariably the outcome.

The empty seat once occupied by the Bamiyan Buddhas before they were systematically destroyed by the Taliban

The empty seat once occupied by the Bamiyan Buddhas before they were systematically destroyed by the Taliban

From:
Guardian

If great architecture belongs to humanity, do we have a responsibility to save it in wartimes?
Jeff Sparrow
Tuesday 7 October 2014 03.25 BST

The lands of Syria and Iraq gave rise to some the oldest societies we know: the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Parthians, the Romans and many others. Traces of all of these peoples remain in archeological sites of the utmost significance.

And now they’re being destroyed.

A fortnight ago, satellite imagery revealed the cultural effects of Syria’s civil war. “The buildings of Aleppo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, has suffered extensive damage,” explained Archaeology magazine. “The ancient city of Bosra, the ancient site of Palmyra, the ancient villages of Northern Syria, and the castles Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din have all been damaged by mortar impacts and military activity.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Met forced to organise Seljuk exhibition without Turkish loans

Posted at 9:38 pm in Similar cases

For a few years now, Turkey has been trying increasingly hard to make life awkward for countries & institutions holding disputed Turkish artefacts. Undeterred by this (or perhaps brimming with bullish over-confidence that Turkey will capitulate), New York’s Metropolitan Museum is attempting to organise a Seljuk exhibition without any loans from Turkey. No actual loan requests have been refused as such, but preliminary discussions indicated that cooperation from Turkey would not be forthcoming, meaning that the Met decided against asking for any loans.

The Seljuks were the Turkish dynasty that existed prior to the Ottomans. as such, Turkey holds by far the largest collection of artefacts from the period. Organising an exhibition without these is significantly harder than it would otherwise have needed to be.

Greece on the other hand has always made a point of continuing to cooperate with Britain over other matters, while maintaining their stance on the Parthenon Sculptures. This is despite many opportunities to block loans for exhibitions, or to not issue permits for British archaeologists etc. Whilst this spirit of cooperation, of not connecting what are in reality disparate items is admirable, I can’t help feeling sometimes that Britain needs to be made to feel a bit less comfortable about their position. The British museum does not deal with the Parthenon Marbles issue in a serious way, because it doesn’t feel that it has to. It has kept up this approach for many years now & everything else continues to happen as normal.

Socrates in discussion with his pupils, Seljuk manuscript from 13thcentury, Istanbul, Topkapi Palace Library

Socrates in discussion with his pupils, Seljuk manuscript from 13thcentury, Istanbul, Topkapi Palace Library

From:
Art Newspaper

No Turkish loans for big Seljuk Turk show planned by the Met
Thorny early discussions with Ankara deterred the US museum but Turkish attitude now appears more conciliatory
By Tim Cornwell. Museums, Issue 261, October 2014
Published online: 09 October 2014

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is organising a major exhibition on the Seljuks, whose medieval Islamic empire expanded from central Asia into much of modern Anatolia in Turkey, without loans from Turkey, The Art Newspaper has learned. Experts fear that loans from any collections in Iran or Russia will also be missing in the Met’s show.

The Met’s problem securing Turkish loans echoes those surrounding the British Museum’s exhibition on the Hajj, which went ahead in London in 2012 without Turkish artefacts after tangled disputes over an inscribed stele with a relief of Herakles, which have yet to be resolved.
Read the rest of this entry »

September 18, 2014

The impact of Scottish independence on the British Museum

Posted at 12:46 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

This article was published some time ago, but its content is still relevant today.

Everyone reading this weebsite hopefully realises that the so called Elgin Marbles were not from Elgin, nor did they ever pass through Scotland to the best of my knowledge. The fact remains though, that they were brought to the UK by a Scotsman, although subsequently purchased off him by the British Government. Whilst they might not be under contention in Scotland’s independence debate, many of the other artefacts may well be more closely tied to Scotland than to Britain.

Further to this, the British Museum is a national museum for the whole of the UK – if a country was to split from the union, would they then be entitled to a percentage share of all the artefacts in the collection.

Neil MacGregor refuses to answer any of these questions, saying that they will be considered as & when the issue becomes real for them.

Lewis Chessmen - discovered in Scotland, but many of them are now in the British Museum

Lewis Chessmen – discovered in Scotland, but many of them are now in the British Museum

From:
Guardian

What would be the implications for the British Museum if Scotland voted for independence?
If Scotland became independent after 2014, the British Museum would be presented with an “existential question”, according to its director Neil MacGregor
Tuesday 25 June 2013

“Let’s jump off that bridge when we get to it,” said Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, when pressed on the putative future of the institution were Scotland to become independent.

The question was raised at a British Museum press conference today not by a journalist, but, intriguingly, by Gus O’Donnell, cabinet secretary under three prime ministers and once the most powerful civil servant in the land.
Read the rest of this entry »

September 10, 2014

Study on Native American Scalp in German museum could lead to restitution

Posted at 12:55 pm in Similar cases

A Native American Scalp in the Karl May Museum near Dresden in Germany is going to be subject to a study over its origins & acquisition, which the museum concedes may provide the basis for its eventual restitution.

Native American exhibition at the Karl May museum

Native American exhibition at the Karl May museum

From:
Phys.org

German museum agrees to study on contested Native American scalp (Update)
Sep 04, 2014 by Kate Millar

A German museum said Thursday it will look into the origins of a scalp claimed by a Native American tribe as an ancestral artefact.

Scientists from the Karl May Museum in the eastern town of Radebeul near Dresden will begin an investigation to shed light on the provenance of one of 17 scalps in its collections, a museum spokeswoman said.
Read the rest of this entry »

August 28, 2014

Ancient coins returned to Greece after New York investigation

Posted at 12:59 pm in Similar cases

As part of a plea bargain, during an investigation into black market trading of rare coins, the collector Arnold-Peter Weiss has agreed to return some of the disputed coins to GReece.

Ancient Greek coins returned after investigations into illicit trading

Ancient Greek coins returned after investigations into illicit trading

From:
Reuters

Ancient coins returned to Greece as part of New York plea deal
05/08/14 12:14 CET

A collection of ancient silver pieces forfeited during an undercover investigation into black-market coin trading in New York City was handed over to the Greek government at a ceremony on Monday, city officials said.

The repatriation of the five coins dating back to 515 BC resulted from a plea agreement by a Rhode Island orthopedic surgeon and longtime coin collector who was convicted of attempted criminal possession of rare stolen coins in 2012.
Read the rest of this entry »

April 30, 2014

Australia’s NGA relinquishes Dancing Shiva ownership claims

Posted at 1:05 pm in Similar cases

The Australian National Gallery in Canberra has now accepted claims from India, that one of the items in their collection is a looted temple idol from the province of Tamil Nadu.

A legal notice was submitted by India on March 26th & the gallery chose not to contest it, meaning that it is automatically handed over by the Gallery to the Australian government. Hopefully this will be the start of a hasty return of it to India.

This is a marked change since last year, where the gallery publicly refuted all claims that the Dancing Shiva idol might be looted.

The idol is central to investigations into rogue dealer Subhash Kapoor, who is awaiting trial in India & subject to investigations within the USA.

Dancing Shiva idol at the National Gallery of Australia

Dancing Shiva idol at the National Gallery of Australia

From:
The Hindu

Canberra gallery gives up claim on stolen idol
NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN
Updated: April 30, 2014 01:20 IST

The National Gallery of Australia has surrendered to the Indian claim that a Chola-era Nataraja that it acquired for (A) $5.6 million had indeed been stolen from a village temple in Tamil Nadu, paving the way for an early return of the idol to India.

The NGA, Australia’s foremost art institution located in the national capital of Canberra, had 30 days to claim its ownership of the imposing bronze Nataraja after receiving a notice from the Australian Attorney General’s Department under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986. That deadline expired on April 26.
Read the rest of this entry »

April 29, 2014

The shame associated with the Sevso Hoard

Posted at 1:06 pm in Similar cases

Part of the disputed Sevso Hoard was recently returned to Hungary (purchased off an unidentified seller in London).

Colin Renfrew looks at some of the history of the treasure, and the losses both to archaeology & to peoples reputations over what has happened with it in the years since its discovery.

Sevso treasure in 1990

Sevso treasure in 1990

From:
Art Newspaper

Shame still hangs over the Sevso hoard
The recent return of seven of the 14 pieces of Roman silver to Hungary from the UK is a positive development in the find’s sad history
By Colin Renfrew. Comment, Issue 257, May 2014
Published online: 29 April 2014

It is a relief that the sorry story of the misappropriation of the great treasure of late Roman silverware known as the Sevso hoard now seems to be reaching an acceptable conclusion. A tangled tale of greed and irresponsibility by “collectors” in high places who might have known better, seeking a quick and easy profit and showing little respect for the world’s archaeological heritage, it ends where it presumably began, in Hungary.
Read the rest of this entry »

April 28, 2014

The next chapter – repatriated works after they return home

Posted at 12:57 pm in Similar cases

There have been various high profile cultural property repatriation cases in recent years that have been resolved by the return of the artefacts in question. In many cases though, once the initial publicity dies down, it drops below the radar, as it is no longer a news item.

This article takes a look at some of the recent cases & what has happened to the artefacts since their return.

The Euphronios Krater, displayed in Rome

The Euphronios Krater, displayed in Rome

From:
New York Times

Vision of Home
Repatriated Works Back in Their Countries of Origin
By RACHEL DONADIOAPRIL 17, 2014

AIDONE, Sicily — The ruins of the ancient Greek city of Morgantina sit high on a hill in eastern Sicily. There are cherry trees, wildflowers and total stillness, save for the sound of bird song. The area has long been sacred to Persephone; legend has it that Hades pulled that goddess into the underworld by a nearby lake.

It was here at Morgantina, just outside the modern town of Aidone, that in the late 1970s or early 1980s, a breathtaking statue of a goddess, draped in a windswept robe and standing over seven feet tall, is believed to have been found. First thought to be Aphrodite and now widely considered to be Persephone, the statue, which dates to about 425 B.C., has become one of the most contested artworks in the world.
Read the rest of this entry »

April 25, 2014

Auction houses turn a blind eye to looted artefacts

Posted at 2:22 pm in Similar cases

Just when I was thinking that the claims of due dilligence by auction houses were too good to be true – it turned out that they were.

Prasat Thom temple in Cambodia

Prasat Thom temple in Cambodia

From:
Gulf Times

Return to sender: Not easy at all
24 April 2014
By Kate Bartlett

Cambodia filed a suit against Sotheby’s, claiming the auction house had agreed to sell a warrior statue known as the Duryodhana while knowing it had been looted from its pedestal during the 1970s. By Kate Bartlett

Cambodia, which was heavily looted of many of its cultural riches during the Khmer Rouge years and the turbulent civil war that followed, is making concerted efforts to get its priceless antiquities back.
Read the rest of this entry »

April 17, 2014

Evangelos Venizelos speaks out on Parthenon Marbles issue

Posted at 12:51 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

PASOK leader & Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos is no stranger to dealing with the Parthenon Sculptures issue. He has been quiet about it in public though, since he lost his position as Culture Minister after Nea Demokratia took power in the 2004 general election.

Today though, he had the opportunity to speak to the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg, about the return of looted cultural artefacts, where he mentioned both the case of the Parthenon Marbles, as well as the various more recent cases that have arisen in Cyprus since the 1974 Turkish occupation.

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos

From:
Famagusta Gazette

Greek FM refers to destruction of Cyprus’ cultural heritage in occupied north
Thursday, 17 April, 2014

Greek Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos, speaking before the European Parliament plenary in Strasbourg on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state, referred to the need to return the Parthenon marbles to Greece and the damage that Cyprus` cultural treasures have suffered since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

He said that the new directive regarding the return of cultural objects is clearly improved compared to the one that existed since 1993 and it will be an important instrument in handling illegal trafficking of cultural artifacts, which is one of the widely used forms of organised crime.
Read the rest of this entry »

April 16, 2014

Is removing an act of vandalism vandalism? – AKA the Banksy Paradox

Posted at 1:06 pm in Similar cases

Had I just seen the first story, there would have been a different take on this, but juxtaposed with another story that also appeared today, it raises far more questions.

The first case is not the first time that Bristolian street artist Banksy has become the topic of this website. In the previous instance, the controversy involved the owner of a wall removing the artwork that had appeared on it one night. The local residents complained, even drawing parallels to the Parthenon Marbles. While the case raised other issues though, the person who did the removing had a legal entitlement to do so, as it was their own wall.

This case however is a clear cut instance of Elginism. The person who removed it is claiming that they had a right to do so because it was in a public place, but now they are claiming it as their own & planning on selling it to raise money. I’m not sure in what way this can not be construed as theft. If don’t own something & you take it, the law is fairly clear cut that this constitutes theft.

However, the second article raises the question of what is vandalism. Since a few years before the start of the financial crisis, the levels of graffiti on walls in Athens has massively increased. Walls that were once pristine & respected have become noticeboards of conflicting political ideologies & poorly thought out solutions to the problem. Many of these are vandalism plain & simple, but they have none the less been documented by people, as one of the most indelible records of the change in the city as the crisis took hold. Now, the social messages in some of the better executed pieces are being analysed further – the works have in effect crossed the same boundary that Banksy did, where vandalism becomes art.

Now – it is worth pointing out that this is a very fuzzy boundary. For some people, it is clearly art, while others continue to maintain the view that the perpetrators should be prosecuted. It is intriguing though how this boundary shifts – Other than his fame / notoriety as an individual, what defines the artistic merit in Banksy’s work that makes people angry when it is destroyed, versus the works of a barely known Greek protester that are routinely scrubbed from walls by municipal workers?

"Access Control," a mural by the Greek street artist iNO on Pireos Street in Athens

“Access Control,” a mural by the Greek street artist iNO on Pireos Street in Athens

From:
Independent

New Banksy art ‘Mobile Lovers’ removed with crowbar, hoarded in youth club
Christopher Hooton
Wednesday 16 April 2014

Banksy’s latest official artwork, being dubbed ‘Mobile Lovers’, has been prized off a Bristol wall by an opportunistic local with a crowbar.

Broad Plain Boys Club manager Dennis Stinchcombe removed the image of a man and a woman distracted by their smartphones from Clement Street, believed to be on plywood, and hopes to sell it for hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Read the rest of this entry »

Brit fined for attempting to auction looted Egyptian artefacts

Posted at 8:09 am in Similar cases

This case intrigues me for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the level of the fine is tiny – considering the crime involved & the value of the artefacts, it counts somewhat lower than a slap on the wrist in the overall scheme of things.

Secondly, the auction house (In this case Christies, although in my past experience, none of the big auction houses have a particularly good reputation when it comes to looted artefacts) takes the moral high ground, making a point about how their due diligence is responsible for bringing about this case. Now, unless I’m misunderstanding the article completely (or the article is incorrect), the sequence of events is rather different to this.

Firstly, Christies lists the looted artefacts. Then, the true origin of the artefacts is spotted by Marcel Marée, a curator at the British Museum, who goes on to alert Christies of this. Finally, Christies contacts the Metropolitan Police’s Arts and Antiques Unit. I see nothing here that really makes me confident in Christies due diligence – the only reason the items didn’t end up at auction was because they happened to be spotted by someone who was entirely independent of the Auction House, who then took their own effort to alert them.

The fact also needs to be noted that the items were smuggled from Egypt in a suitcase on a flight – more needs to be done by countries to protect the egress of looted artefacts through their borders, helping to stop the trade by making it much more difficult for international buyers.

Lot 61 An Egyptian painted limestone relief fragment 1550.1069 B.C

Lot 61 An Egyptian painted limestone relief fragment 1550.1069 B.C

From:
Ahram Online

Briton fined £500 by UK court for attempted sale of smuggled Egypt antiquities
Amer Sultan in London
Tuesday 15 Apr 2014

A UK court has fined a British citizen £500 after he admitted having attempted to sell a number of ill-gotten Egyptian antiquities.

Neil Kingsbury, who had previously worked on BBC documentary series about the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and other early archaeological adventures, was arrested after six items were identified in Christie’s London antiquities sale last year.
Read the rest of this entry »