Showing 11 results for the tag: Axum Obelisk.

February 17, 2012

The top five most disputed artefacts

Posted at 2:10 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

A (somewhat subjective, but still interesting) list in the New York Times of the most disputed antiquities, following the return of some Egyptian Artefacts from the Metropolitan Museum.


The world’s most disputed antiquities: a top 5 list
by Melanie Renzulli on Aug 3rd 2011 at 1:00PM

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art announced Tuesday that it would return 19 Egyptian antiquities that have lived at the museum for most of the last century. These artifacts, excavated from the 14th century B.C. tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (King Tut), include a sphinx bracelet, a small bronze dog, and a broad collar with beads, among other bits and pieces. Zahi Hawass, the former Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, argued for the artifacts’ return in November 2010, claiming that the artifacts had been removed from the tomb illegally in the 1920s. But, the instability in Egypt during and following that country’s revolution this year has delayed the repatriation of King Tut’s belongings.

One of the biggest arguments in the art world is the repatriation of objects, particularly antiquities. On one side of the debate are art scholars who feel that ancient objects should remain in the care of their current (usually Western) museums or locations. The other side argues that antiquities should be returned to the countries from which they were removed because they were taken during times of war and colonization or were stolen and sold through the highly lucrative art black market.
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February 1, 2012

Looted artefacts – the disputes over ownership around the world

Posted at 6:00 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

An interesting look at 10 different cases (some well known, some more obscure) where countries are involved in disputes over the ownership of looted cultural property. Some of the cases have been resolved, but many are still no closer to reaching a conclusion than the day after the artefacts were originally taken.

Business Insider

10 Ancient Artifacts That Countries Are Still Fighting Over
Vivian Giang | Jul. 14, 2011, 7:51 PM

Legendary historical artifacts have traded hands from conquerors to thieves and ended up thousands of miles from their origin.

The question of ownership is extremely murky.

With a black market in looted art worth as much as $6.3 billion a year, the mantra of “finder’s keepers” can be tempting. Past and present owners, however, may claim an object, sometimes leading to disputes and wars between nations.
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December 1, 2011

One hundred and fourty thousand Korean cultural artefacts abroad

Posted at 1:54 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Korea has recently had the Oegyujanggak documents returned by France & Japan is also planning on returning other documents to them soon. There is still a lot of the country’s heritage located in foreign museums however and the ownership of many of these items continues to be disputed.

Joong Ang Daily (Korea)

Bringing our cultural treasures home
April 26, 2011

The massive needle-shaped stone monuments known as the Egyptian obelisks are still a mystery, but it is widely believed that they are symbols of fertility. In most civilizations, the sky is often represented as male while the earth is female. In Greek mythology, Uranus was the god of the sky and Gaia was the goddess of the earth. But in ancient Egypt, Geb was the god of the Earth, and his wife Nut was the goddess of the sky. The obelisks are said to be phalluses constructed to point up at the sky for Nut.

Although the obelisks were built in Egypt, most obelisks are found not in Egypt but in Italy. There are 29 obelisks remaining around the world, and nine of them are in Egypt. Italy has 11. Roman emperors had admired the majestic beauty of the obelisks when they conquered Egypt and took them to Italy. That was over 2,000 years ago. Italians’ infatuation with obelisks returned in the 20th century. When Italy won the second Italo-Abyssinian War, Benito Mussolini looted the Obelisk of Axum.
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March 25, 2009

The Lewis Chessmen & the British Museum

Posted at 1:57 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The British Museum is trying to make the Lewis Chessmen the central feature of a new gallery, in the hope that this will weaken the argument for their return to Scotland.

Evening Standard (London)

Your move … Scots want chess set back
Louise Jury, Chief Arts Correspondent

THE BRITISH Museum has put a set of elaborately carved chess figures at the heart of a new gallery despite demands that they be returned to Scotland.

The 82 Lewis Chessmen, which are between 800 and 900 years old and made from walrus and whale ivory, were seen in a Harry Potter film and inspired the children’s TV series Noggin The Nog.
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March 6, 2009

The techniques used to secure return of looted artefacts

Posted at 11:51 am in Similar cases

Different countries have in recent years used a wide range of techniques to try & secure the return of disputed artefacts. Some of these approaches have had more success than others.

South China Morning Post

Countries go to greater lengths to get looted treasures back
5 Mar 2009
South China Morning Post

China is not the only nation that wants missing relics back and many countries employ different means to retrieve them, write Tim Johnson and Julie Sell

Cambodia, are barely able to halt the plunder of sites like the ancient Angkor temples complex.
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March 3, 2009

Cai Mingchao and the Yves Saint Lauren sculptures

Posted at 10:12 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

More coverage of the peculiar ending to the current chapter of the row over the disputed Chinese artefacts auctioned from the collection of Yves Saint Lauren. Whether his actions were right or wrong, they have had great success in highlighting the problems that arise when items such as this are sold whilst their ownership is disputed.

The Globe & Mail (Canada)

Bidder butts heads with Christie’s over looted art
Sources: BBC, CNN, Washington Times, McClatchy
March 3, 2009

BEIJING — For 150 years, the bronze heads of the rabbit and rat have passed from one rich Western owner to the next, symbols of what many Chinese consider a time of national humiliation.

Where they end up next remains in doubt after a Chinese collector says he won a controversial auction for the two 18th-century artworks last week in Paris, but refuses to pay the price, which is over $50-million.
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March 2, 2009

Disputed artefacts around the world

Posted at 9:53 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

A summary of some of the more well known cases of looted artefacts around the world, prompted by the recent chain of events following the auctioning of artefacts belonging to the late Yves Saint Lauren.


FACTBOX: Disputed artifacts around the world
Mon Mar 2, 2009 2:38pm GMT

(Reuters) – A Chinese art collector identified himself on Monday as the winning bidder in last week’s Paris auction for two sculptures looted from Beijing in the 1800s but said that, as a patriot, he had no intention of paying.

The collector said the relics should not have been put up for sale as they had been stolen from Beijing’s Summer Palace, which was razed in 1860 by French and British forces.
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September 18, 2008

Cultural vandalism & how it affects you

Posted at 12:32 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Edith Mazier has written an interesting piece on how looting of antiquities & cultural property is not something only relevant to academics, but is something that has the potential to be relevant to everyone.


Cultural Vandalism Diminishes All
Looting of Art, Artifacts, and Antiquities Is a Pernicious Problem
© E.E. Mazier
Sep 11, 2008

Because the theft, smuggling, and mistreatment of artwork and cultural artifacts have a negative impact on all humanity, these practices merit universal condemnation.

In September 2008, Ethiopia celebrated the re-erection of a 1,700-year-old granite obelisk in the town of Axum. The obelisk had been standing in Rome since Fascist invaders had shipped its pieces to Italy in 1937. Although the Ethiopians had demanded the return of their national monument since the end of World War II, Italy dragged its feet until 2005.
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November 8, 2003

Debates over the ownership of stolen artwork

Posted at 9:07 am in Similar cases

Italy’s plans to return the Axum Obelisk to Ethiopia re-open the debate about whether items of stolen cultural property should be returned to their countries of origin.


Ownership of Stolen Artwork Debated
Saturday November 8, 2003 8:46 PM
Associated Press Writer

ROME (AP) – An ancient obelisk that Italian Fascist forces hauled out of Ethiopia in the 1930s is being disassembled in central Rome for its journey home – a rare restitution that comes amid international debate over the rightful ownership of looted works.

A major step in the complicated return of the fragile yet weighty Axum Obelisk came Friday, when workers removed a 22-foot-long chunk from the top that weighs about 40 tons.
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Axum Obelisk prepared for return to Africa

Posted at 9:02 am in Similar cases

Work has now begun on the project to return the Axum Obelisk from Italy to Ethipia.


Stolen obelisk heading home to Africa raises issue of looted art worldwide
ROME, Nov. 8 — An ancient obelisk that Italian Fascist forces hauled out of Ethiopia in the 1930s is being disassembled in central Rome for its journey home — a rare restitution that comes amid international debate over the rightful ownership of looted works.

A major step in the complicated return of the fragile yet weighty Axum Obelisk came Friday, when workers removed a 22-foot-long chunk from the top that weighs about 40 tons.

Seeing part of the 1,700-year-old monument swinging from a crane — and headed home — prompted a group of Ethiopians to burst into cries of delight.
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October 24, 2003

Looted Axum Obelisk to return home to Ethiopia

Posted at 9:36 am in Similar cases

The Axum Obelisk was taken from Ethiopia by Mussolini’s forces in 1937, after they had conquered the country. Plans are now under-way to return it back to its original location.

Globe & Mail (Canada)

Friday, Oct. 24, 2003
A monumental plunder:
Massive object was taken from Ethiopia by Mussolini, ALAN FREEMAN reports from Rome
From Friday’s Globe and Mail

The Aksum obelisk is finally about to go home to Ethiopia, if only a way can be found to get it there.After years of delays and prevarications, the Italian government has decided to return the 24-metre-high granite funeral stele — plundered by the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini in 1937 as booty from his newly conquered African empire.

Scaffolding already obscures the obelisk, which stands on the curbside of a busy piazza in central Rome.
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