Showing results 13 - 24 of 98 for the tag: Books.

March 27, 2012

The mystery of the missing Stonehenge megaliths

Posted at 8:14 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

The new manga book set in the British Museum has an uncanny plot resemblance (entirely coincidentally), to MP Andrew George’s failed April 1st EDM from 2009.


Manga Preview: Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure
By M@ · November 21, 2011 at 15:30 pm

We’re not going to pretend some deep-seated knowledge of manga that we don’t possess, but this new release looks intriguing whether you’re a fan of the artform or not. Hoshino Yukinobu’s latest Professor Munakata adventure has the eponymous ethnologist unravelling the ‘mystery of the missing Stonehenge megaliths and the threats to the British Museum’s treasured holdings’.

This Friday (25 November) the Museum holds a special event to mark the novel’s release in English. Nicole Rousmaniere will describe the Museum’s role in the creation of the story (excerpts were displayed there two years ago), while Paul Gravett, Director of Comica Festival, places the book into a wider context.

The discussion about Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure takes place at 6.30pm on 25 November at the British Museum. Tickets are £5/£3. The story can be purchased here.

March 23, 2012

Giovanni Battista Belzoni, archaeologist of his time, or smash and grab looter?

Posted at 7:31 pm in Similar cases

Belzoni, along with Bernardino Drovetti were perhaps the two people, who more than any others started the raiding of Egypt’s antiquities, to fill the museums & palaces of the west. Were they just doing, what was accepted at the time, or was a lot of history plundered to their reckless methods?

Wall Street Journal

A Pre-Digital Tomb Raider
Sifting sand, opening crypts, raising fallen statues and scooping up anything marketable—and transportable—to Britain.

In the Egyptian gallery of London’s British Museum stands a 3,400-year-old statue carved from polished black stone. Lifted from the city of Thebes, the figure depicts Amenhotep III, who ruled Egypt from about 1386 B.C. to 1350 B.C., when the kingdom was at the peak of its power and prosperity. Sitting erect but serene, his hands resting on his thighs, Amenhotep seems every inch the pharaoh. But one detail disturbs the regal impression: Beside the king’s left foot, with all the subtlety of a Times Square billboard, appears the crudely carved name “Belzoni.” How this Italian commoner came to be forever linked with an Egyptian pharaoh is now the subject of a lively, witty biography by Ivor Noël Hume.

Though Giovanni Battista Belzoni is not generally recalled today, he is still infamous among archaeologists. Born in 1778 in Padua, Italy, Giovanni worked in his father’s barbershop until age 16, then left to study in Rome. After Napoleon Bonaparte captured the Eternal City in 1797, Belzoni wandered Europe for a time, ending up in London, where he hoped to secure work as a hydraulic engineer. But the only job the 6-foot-6 Italian could find was as a circus performer, billed as “the Patagonian Sampson” and toting a dozen lesser men about the stage.
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March 22, 2012

Old documents reveal new details of the history of the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 2:01 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

More coverage of the newly published letters relating to the history of the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum. The letters are particularly interesting, as they reveal how long standing Greece’s attempts to secure the return of the sculptures have been.

GR Reporter

21 Documents About the Return of the Parthenon Marbles Revealed after 200 Years
By Areti Kotseli on March 22, 2012

Since its establishment in 1821, the Greek state has declared its intentions to return to Athens the sculptures from the Parthenon held by the British Museum. This is what twenty-one documents, under the title “The Acropolis of Athens”, revealing the correspondence between the ministers of education and foreign affairs, and reports of the Greek Ambassador in London at that time, have proved. The publishing house “Alitia” has published the documents for the first time and the luxury collection is available only in the souvenir shop of the Acropolis Museum.

“This record is a great weapon in the hands of the Greek state in the negotiations with the British Museum, because it shows the earliest efforts to restore and protect the Athenian Acropolis and to clear it of any foreign intervention,” said the publisher Kostas Tsaruhas.
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Professor Munakata Tadakusa meets the British Museum

Posted at 8:52 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

More coverage of the new Manga comic book, with a storyline involving the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum.

New Scientist

British Museum gets the manga treatment
17:17 1 November 2011
Cian O’Luanaigh, contributor

Missing artefacts, a 200-year-old conspiracy, and a mysterious airship over London. Oh, and someone’s nicked Stonehenge…

Folklore and ethnology expert Professor Munakata Tadakusa certainly has his work cut out in Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure, the latest collection of comics from acclaimed manga artist Hoshino Yukinobu. Invited to give a talk at London’s British Museum, he soon finds himself investigating a plot to steal museum artefacts and return them to their “rightful” owners.
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March 20, 2012

Three new books on art thefts

Posted at 9:08 am in Similar cases

Theft and looting, as covered by this website, tends to focus on illegal excavations & looting of archaeological sites, some of which isn’t discovered until well after the event. One must remember though, that huge amounts of art theft also take place directly from museums and private collections – and that many of these cases remain unsolved.

Washington Post

Three books on art theft
By Christopher Schoppa, Published: October 7

The craft of looting precious artworks is almost as old as the medium itself, with countless cases littering the pages of history, from casualties of war (most recently, the Baghdad Museum) to brazen museum heists (Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990). There are also the thorny issues of national patrimony, art that by chance or pillage wound up as the backbone of some other country’s elite museum: The famed Elgin Marbles now housed in the British Museum are a prime example. Greece has a state-of the art (yet empty) space to house them in the Acropolis Museum, and is still waiting. But you needn’t. For more tidbits on all manner of displaced works of art, read on.

1. Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Story of Notorious Art Heists, by Anthony M. Amore and Tom Mashberg (Palgrave Macmillan, $25). As the title suggests, the authors focus on the 17th-century Dutch artist Rembrandt Van Rijin and the vast body of work he left behind, With conservative estimates placing authentic Rembrandts at over 1,000, thieves have an ample selection from which to choose. Amore is the director of security at the Gardner Museum in Boston, which lost three Rembrandts among the 13 masterpieces swiped in the dead of night. Becoming obsessed with the case (still unsolved), Amore used his investigations as a jumping off point to explore the appeal of Rembrandt’s works for thieves and the entry of organized crime into art theft. He was aided by former Boston Herald reporter Mashberg, who wrote about the case on and off for 14 years (even being whisked off to an undisclosed site purportedly to see one of the stolen Rembrandts). Together they tell a compelling story.
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March 13, 2012

The Manga, the Museum & the Marbles

Posted at 2:02 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

The new Manga book about the British Museum (& also involving the Parthenon Marbles) has now been published in English.


The British Museum: marbles, murals… and manga!
Meet Professor Munakata, the crime-fighting archaeologist who saves one of London’s best-loved institutions from looters
Mike Pitts
Sunday 14 August 2011 19.59 BST

With its crumbling pillars and fading frescoes, the British Museum isn’t the first thing you’d associate with Japanese graphic novels. So it’s a slight surprise to learn that the museum will soon publish its own manga-based book.

Professor Munakata’s British Museum Adventure was serialised last year in Japan and has now been now translated into English. Its star – a portly ethnographer-cum-archaeologist who solves crimes and explains civilisations – is already well known to millions of Japanese readers, who follow his exploits in a series of Hoshino Yukinobu-penned comics. Hoshino’s work is blend of science fiction and thriller, layered with a rich mix of western and Asian myth and history.
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February 1, 2012

Chasing Aphrodite – Italy’s attempts to reclaim their cultural patrimony

Posted at 5:51 pm in Similar cases

Another review of Chasing Aphrodite – about the Italian’s hunt for looted artefacts in the Getty Museum.

Washington Times

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Chasing Aphrodite’
By Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 384 pages, illustrated

The 19th century was the golden age of acquisition. European and American collectors, smitten with the lure of antiquities from Greece, Italy and China, spent recklessly to assemble great collections in London, Paris and New York. No one questioned that marbles from the Parthenon would get more careful attention in London than in Athens.

Then the tide began to turn. Italians became restless at the sight of their “patrimony” being exported abroad. In 1939, Italy passed a cultural property law stating that archaeological objects found after that date were the property of the state. In Athens, Greeks demanded the return of the Elgin Marbles.
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January 26, 2012

What went wrong at the Getty Museum – the hunt for looted antiquities

Posted at 2:16 pm in Similar cases

The Trial (without result) of former Getty curator Marion True has been covered here many times before. The book “Chasing Aphrodite” aims to retell some of this story, as well as the background to it.

New York Review of Books

What Went Wrong at the Getty
June 23, 2011
Hugh Eakin

Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum
by Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 375 pp., $28.00


On August 5, 70 BC, at 1:30 in the afternoon, a remarkable criminal trial began in Rome. A young prosecutor named Marcus Tullius Cicero was accusing a senior Roman political official, Gaius Verres, of extortion and misrule during Verres’s tenure as governor of Sicily. “For three long years he so thoroughly despoiled and pillaged the province that its restoration to its previous state is out of the question,” Cicero proclaimed in his bold opening statement.
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January 10, 2012

What are museums for

Posted at 9:09 am in Similar cases

Three new books present contrasting views on the purpose of museums today. The reality is that this is the kind of argument with no right or wrong answer, but all of the different voices merit consideration.

The Art Newspaper

What are museums for?
Three highly contrasting views reflecting current debates and controversies in policy and practice
By Maurice Davies | From issue 224, May 2011
Published online 24 May 11 (Books)

People hold strong opinions about museums. Some assert that their ­primary function should be scholarship, others insist that it’s more important to communicate with a wide audience. In pursuing either of these goals, should museums focus on exploring objects or investigating their contexts—are they about looking at things or telling stories? Adding to the debate, there’s lingering anxiety about relativism; some commentators (and probably many visitors) think museums should strive to be objective, others relish a variety of views.

It has become a cliché to say that museums are today’s churches—special places for contemplation, separate from day-to-day concerns; conversely, there’s an argument that museums should aim to be commonplace, part of normal life. It is intriguing that museums were once talked of as places that reinforced cultural hegemonies, but now they are more often seen as democratising access to art, and even as politically correct when they attempt to include groups formerly omitted from history. While some believe museums have changed far too much, others think they haven’t been transformed enough. The books reviewed here reveal differing views about the role of museums.
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January 9, 2012

Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz – The plot to return the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 2:05 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Another review of the new children’s book by Anthony Horowitz, about a plot to return the Parthenon Marbles from the British Museum to Athens.


Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz – review

Sunday 8 May 2011 11.00 BST

‘The detail is amazing, he drags you straight into the room’

The finale of the enthralling Alex Rider series, comes with a bang, and this time, the majority of the book is from the bad guy’s point of view. Alex returns this time with SCORPIA, the evil criminal organisation, on his tail. Jack Starbright, his new guardian is with him this time as Alex goes to Cairo, in Egypt, with him and Mr Smithers, Horowitz’s version of James Bond’s Q; the gadget man. At the beginning, we see the arch-villain: Zeljan Kurst, meeting a dying Greek millionaire in the British Museum. I recently visited the Museum myself and the detail is amazing, he drags you straight into the room. This book will see, a major twist, Smither’s final shocking gadget, and a new side of Alan Blunt. I would recommend this, to anyone between the ages of 10 to 13, because it’s a bit violent for under 10’s.

January 4, 2012

Chasing Aphrodite – event in Washington

Posted at 2:07 pm in Events, Similar cases

The authors of Chasing Aphrodite, Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino are taking part in an event in Washington to discuss looted antiquities and transparency in American museums.

National Press Club

Chasing Aphrodite: Investigative Journalists Track Down Looted Antiquities
January 24, 2012 6:00 PM

This is a ticketed event. Click here to jump to the ticket form.

Investigative journalists to analyze looted antiquities, and museum transparency

Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino, investigative journalists and authors of “Chasing Aphrodite: The Hunt for Looted Antiquities at the World’s Richest Museum” will join Gary Vikan, director of the Walters Art Museum and Arthur Houghton, a former curator at the Getty Museum, to discuss looted antiquities and transparency in American museums at 6 p.m. Jan. 24 in the National Press Club ballroom.
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December 20, 2011

RIP Christopher Hitchens – supporter of the return of the Parthenon Marbles

Posted at 1:49 pm in Elgin Marbles

In the mid 1980s, when interest in the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles was not as high as it is now, Christopher Hitchens chose to write his second book about the Parthenon Marbles – and why he thought that they should be returned to Greece. This book still is perhaps the text that most eloquently summarises the arguments for the return of the sculptures & refutes those against. It has since been reprinted in three different editions, each time summarising the current status of the case, with introductory passages written by various others involved with the campaign.

His book was the first thing that I read when researching the design of the New Acropolis Museum – which led to my interest in the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles ever since then.

Particularly in his later works, I disagreed with much of what Hitch wrote, but in other cases, his clear understanding of the arguments led me to change my own mind on subjects. Throughout his life though, he steadfastly maintained his assertions that the Parthenon Sculptures should be returned to Greece.

Farewell Christopher, you will be missed.

(Interestingly, I notice that the Reuters obituary was written by Sharon Waxman – herself an author of a book on disputed artefacts in museums)


Christopher Hitchens: A salute to intellectual honesty
By Sharon Waxman
Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:42pm EST

LOS ANGELES ( – Nothing sharpened Christopher Hitchens’ mind like cancer.

He wrote the best, most piercing, most clarifying prose of his career as he faced down the specter of his own demise.

As he dealt with fatigue and nausea, with the anger, disgust and frustration that must accompany what he knew was a death sentence, Hitch poured it all into words that were as painfully honest as they were hilarious.
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