November 9, 2006

Erechtheion fragment returns to Greece

Posted at 1:48 pm in Acropolis, Similar cases

The official handover of a fragment of the Erechtheion currently held in Sweden, will take place next week.
Although this does not represent a part of the Parthenon itself, it is still a significant step, not least because it shows that in the opinions of many members of the public artefacts such as these should be repatriated. Each time a piece is returned without setting a precedent or opening the floodgates, the British Museum’s argument for retention becomes slightly weaker.

Sveriges Radio International (Radio Sweden)

8th November 2006
Acropolis Frieze Returned to Greece

A marble frieze from the Acropolis in Athens is being returned from Sweden.

Stockholm’s Museum of Mediterranean and Middle East Antiquities says the marble fragment will be officially returned to Greece this week. It comes from the Erechtheion temple, build around 420 BC. The frieze was taken to Sweden by a naval officer 110 years ago, and remained in his family’s possession until last year, when it was turned over to the museum.

The officer’s great niece says she was motivated by reading about Greece’s desire to recover friezes from the main temple of the Parthenon, which were taken by Britain’s Lord Elgin in the 19th century, and which are in the British Museum in London.

She’s due to hand over the piece to Greece’s Minister of Culture at a ceremony at the Acropolis on Friday.

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1 Comment »

  1. Iconoclasm » Tales of Repatriation said,

    07.22.07 at 1:27 pm

    […] The first is a small marble fragment from the famous Erechtheion on the Athenian Acropolis. This temple was a lot smaller than the Parthenon, but its price of construction was much higher (which we know because of the survival of the building accounts on marble slabs). The high price tag was due the intricate details in the temple’s decoration and the expensive materials used for its construction. The small fragment was returned by Birgit Wiger-Angner of Sweden, whose family had acquired it in 1896. The return ceremony last year was attended by the Greek Minister of Culture. The exhibition of the fragment in the very last room of the Acropolis Museum (see picture on the right) with the Caryatids sends a powerful message to visitors about the stewardship of these monuments so important to Greek identity. Certainly it is meant to cause visiting Brits to (re-)consider their position on the display of the Parthenon sculptures in the British Museum – or indeed visiting Danes. There are two heads from the Parthenon metopes exhibited in the Copenhagen National Museum, acquired in a similar manner to the Swedish fragment (although at an earlier date). I expect the fragment to be displayed in a similarly prominent location, when the new Acropolis Museum opens later this year. The text accompanying the small exhibit is, however, rather sober. It is the fragment itself that does the talking. […]

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