July 18, 2005

Wales’s Elgin Marbles?

Posted at 6:01 pm in Similar cases

The Welsh have for some time been requesting the permanent display in Wales of the Golden Cape which was purchased by the British Museum.
Of course this article misses a number of key differences, or least that the cape was never part of an existing building, & that it is all in one location now, rather than being split between two countries.


Renewed row over Wales’ golden cape
Jul 18 2005
Darren Devine, Western Mail

A FRESH row has begun over the ownership of a priceless golden cape that is to go on display at a museum in North Wales.

The ceremonial cape made of solid gold was discovered in Mold, North Wales, in 1833, but was bought by the British Museum, in London, three years later.

But some believe the cape should be permanently displayed at a Welsh Museum and the case mirrors that of the Elgin Marbles, which the Greeks want to see returned from the British Museum.

Plaid Cymru AM for North Wales Janet Ryder said the determination of the British Museum to keep the cape smacks of an “old imperialistic attitude” towards other countries’ national treasures.

“One of the things that has struck me most is that if you go around the National Museum in Ireland they have a necklace made of gold leaf balls from the Iron Age.

“The necklace is made up of nine balls of different sizes, but they only have eight on display because one is missing.

“In the place where the missing one should be it simply says, ‘This is on display at the British Museum, in London’.

“Like the position with the golden cape it smacks of the old imperialist view that England owns everything. But the cape is part of our heritage and one of our national treasures and should be classed as such.”

The cape, regarded as one of the British Museum’s top 10 exhibits, is the largest gold object ever found in Wales and was discovered by workmen quarrying stone.

The relic was found within a Bronze Age burial mound with the remains of a skeleton and a number of amber beads.

The cape forms the centrepiece of an exhibition called Re-creations: Visualising our Past to run from September 26 until December 17 at Wrexham Museum.

Assembly Culture Minister Alan Pugh, who negotiated the loan of the cape from the British Museum, refused to be drawn on whether it ought to be permanently based in Wales.

He said the British Museum has been an excellent custodian and legally owns it.

“I’m very pleased that it [the British Museum] has been a first-rate custodian of the cape and I’m very pleased it has been so willing to discuss a loan to North Wales.

“The British Museum has done an excellent job and the real question is, can people see it?”

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