Showing results 1 - 12 of 696 for the tag: Cultural Property.

November 17, 2014

ICOMOS support for Parthenon Marbles UNESCO mediation

Posted at 11:51 pm in Elgin Marbles

ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments & Sites has recently being holding their 18th General assembly in Florence, Italy.

During this meeting, a resolution (Resolution 18GA 2014/40) was passed to:

To support the mediation process proposed by Greece for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles on the basis of UNESCO’s 2010 mediation and to encourage both parties (Greece and United Kingdom) to open a fruitful dialogue aiming at a mutually acceptable solution.

ICOMOS 18th General Assembly

ICOMOS 18th General Assembly

From:
Greek Ministry of Culture

DRAFT RESOLUTIONS – ICOMOS 2014

Proposers
ICOMOS GREECE.
Dr. ATHANASIOS NAKASIS
PRESIDENT ICOMOS GREECE

ICOMOS GREECE.
Dr. ELENA KORKA
ICOMOS GREECE – International Issues
General Director of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage
Hellenic Ministry of Culture

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION:

In the 19th century Lord Elgin removed integral architectural sculptures from the frieze, the metopes and the pediments from the Parthenon. The Parthenon Marbles that are on display at the British Museum make up approximately 60% of the total remaining sculptural material of the monument. The need for their reunification with the other 40%, now exhibited in the Acropolis Museum in Athens, is a cultural desideratum. It will be to the benefit of every visitor (scholar or not), who seeks to view the Parthenon and its historical environment. The issue of the Parthenon Marbles is continuously on the agenda of the Committee for the Promotion of the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin (ICPRCP) since 1984. Twenty two (22) Committees all over the world were founded in support of the reunification, while polls carried out through the years, show the high public interest on the issue.
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November 16, 2014

The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act

Posted at 10:08 pm in Similar cases

A new bill in the House of Representatives in the USA aims to limit ISIS funding, by prohibiting the import of Syrian antiquities.

Various studies have indicated that the trade in looted artefacts has played a key role in ISIS’s funding in recent months.

If the bill is passed, its remit is wider than the current ISIS situation in Syria & Northern Iraq, allowing it to apply to other areas of instability around the world, where looting is taking place.

The ruins of Apamea in Syria in 2004, before the current conflict

The ruins of Apamea in Syria in 2004, before the current conflict

From:
US Committee of the Blue Shield

Breaking news: bill in House to protect cultural property
The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act

Legislation to protect cultural property worldwide and curb ISIL funding by prohibiting import of Syrian antiquities was introduced into the House by Representatives Eliot L. Engel (D-NY) and Chris Smith (R-NJ).

For Immediate Release

November 14, 2014

Contacts:
Tim Mulvey (Engel) 202-226-9103
Jeff Sagnip (Smith) 202-225-3765
Engel, Smith offer bill to preserve cultural preservation preservation, curb ISIL funding

WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations today announced that they have introduced legislation to improve American efforts to preserve cultural property around the world and cut off one source of funding to ISIL. The Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act (H.R. 5703) would take steps to coordinate efforts across government to preserve cultural artifacts where they may be threatened by conflict, instability, or natural disaster.
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November 14, 2014

Neil MacGregor on the Parthenon Marbles – Greece responds

Posted at 11:40 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Following Kwame Opoku’s reponse to British Museum Director Neil MacGregor’s recent comments on the Parthenon Marbles, the Greek Ministry of Culture have also forwarded me their own response, highlighting the many inaccuracies & inconsistencies in MacGregor’s interview.

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

From:
Greek Ministry of Culture (by email)

Response to comments made by Neil MacGregor in an interview in the Times on 7th November

1. UNESCO, which has invited the Greek and the British Governments to take part in a mediation process to resolve the issue, is an intergovernmental organization. However, the Trustees of the British Museum are not part of the British government. It is the Trustees and not the Government that own the great cultural collections of the country.

UNESCO is indeed an intergovernmental organization. It is hard to believe that a Government would discuss an issue it does not have competence on. It is hard to believe that if there were political will from the UK for the return of the Marbles to Greece the BM would resist this will. Negotiations conducted all those years with the good services of UNESCO were between the two States (Greece and the UK). Yet, a BM representative was always there. In any case the links at all levels between the BM and the UK Government are well known. Returns have already been effected in Britain on the basis of changes in the law such as the enactment of the Human Tissue Act 2004. This Act enabled the return of human remains located in UK museum collections (under the same status as the one applying to the Marbles). Those were unethically removed from Australian Aboriginals, New Zealand Maori and Native Americans and were returned to their countries of origin. In this light persistence in formalities can only be used as an evasion of the real issue.
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Lord Elgin – enlightened liberator or avaricious looter?

Posted at 11:26 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

The heightened interest in the Parthenon Marbles following the visit by a team of lawyers to Athens has prompted many recent articles on the subject.

Here, Vicky Pryce & Dominic Selwood argue the cases on opposite sides of the restitution debate.

Remember to vote in the poll on the website at the top of the original article.

Part of the Parthenon frieze in the British Museum

Part of the Parthenon frieze in the British Museum

From:
Prospect

Duel: should we return the Elgin marbles?
Did Lord Elgin liberate or steal these priceless historic artefacts? Our panellists battle it out
by Vicky Pryce, Dominic Selwood / November 13, 2014
Published in December 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine

About authors

Vicky Pryce (Yes)
Vicky Pryce is a Greek economist and former joint head of the UK’s Government Economic Service

Dominic Selwood (No)
Dominic Selwood is a historian and barrister

Yes
At the beginning of the 19th century, Thomas Bruce, Lord Elgin, was the British Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which occupied Greece. He entered the Parthenon in Athens and documented the sculptures, making moulds and casts. He bribed Turkish officials to allow him to engage in daily excavations before removing a large part of the marbles to Britain. Bribing occupying powers to purloin national treasures is not the sort of behaviour usually deemed worthy of a British Ambassador.

The looting that happened during the Second World War has, on the whole, been made good. No one accepts the right of those who occupied half of Europe to walk off with the revered relics of those subjugated nations in the 20th century. So why was it acceptable to do so in the 19th century?

Britain missed a trick by failing to hand the marbles back during the 2012 Olympic Games, which would have been a spectacular gesture. That it did not is a sad reflection on the enfeebled spirit of philhellenism in Britain. Lord Byron, who died in Greece after travelling to fight in its war of independence, condemned the cultural vandalism of his fellow peer, Elgin. But today there are no Lord Byrons in Britain willing to raise their voice.

The marbles might be great emissaries for Greece in the British Museum, but the fact remains that much damage was inflicted on the structure in the process of extracting the pieces that were taken away. They were brought here in dubious circumstances for the personal satisfaction of an individual who then sold stolen goods to the government.

And the name itself jars. Let us never forget the late Melina Mercouri, the actress and former Greek Minister of Culture. Speaking in an Oxford Union debate in 1986 she said:

“…And the Parthenon marbles they are. There are no such things as the Elgin marbles.

There is a Michelangelo David.

There is a Da Vinci Last Supper.

There is a Praxitelles Hermes.

There is a Turner Fishermen at Sea.

There are no Elgin marbles!”

no
The Greek government has never sued for the Parthenon sculptures in court because it knows Elgin did not “loot” or “purloin” anything. He acquired them legally, and saved them for the world. In the next best thing to a judge’s ruling, the world’s leading legal expert on art and cultural property, John Merryman of Stanford University, has stated that the modern Republic of Greece has no legal, moral or ethical claim to the sculptures. This may come as a shock to many people, but that is because they have never been told the actual story.

Elgin was a profound lover of classical art. When he was appointed British Ambassador to the Ottoman “Sublime Porte,” he personally paid for artists to take casts and make paintings of the sculptures so he could share them with a wider European public. However, once in Athens, Elgin saw that the Ottomans (who had ruled Greece for 350 years), were allowing the sculptures to be broken up for sale to tourists, used for rifle target practice, and ground down to sell for the lime. Appalled, Elgin applied to the Ottoman authorities (the lawful—and only—government of Greece at the time), and obtained a firman, or permit, to remove the sculptures.

Elgin spent around £70,000 on the rescue (including salvaging every last piece of sculpture from a ship that sank). In modern terms this is many tens—perhaps hundreds—of millions of pounds. However, Elgin accepted £35,000 from parliament for them as he wanted the sculptures to go into the British Museum, even though other buyers offered him far more. It all left Elgin with a gargantuan debt that took his estate almost a century to clear.

So, rather than baselessly maligning Elgin, we should be thanking him. Without his personal intervention there would be no amazing sculptures—just the pollution-wrecked, blurry stones that were only recently brought indoors in Athens. Fortunately the world still has Elgin’s original casts to see what the sculptures he left behind once looked like.

Accordingly, whatever people decide should happen to the sculptures today, it is an outright fabrication to cast Elgin as a looting, bribing vandal.

yes
Much depends on what you perceive to be “legal.” The Ottomans were an occupying power against whom the Greeks, with the help of many nations and individuals such as Byron, rose up to reclaim their land just 10 years later. That gives the purchase of the marbles no legitimacy.

The legitimacy of the “permit” obtained by Elgin, which in his view authorised the removal, was hotly debated when he brought the statues to Britain, as it only survives in translation. At best it talks about taking “some stones” back—not a wholesale destruction of the Parthenon. The reason for his action is also dubious. If there was urgent need to protect the Parthenon from attack, why not take it all? And if indeed it was threatened, how come whatever Elgin left behind, still spectacular though bereft of many parts, has survived more or less intact since the Greek revolution that pushed the Turks out?

Britain is a far-sighted nation. Opinion polls suggest that those who believe the marbles should be returned far exceed those who don’t. Here, the sculptures are kept in a dark uninviting room in the British Museum in London, not in their natural habitat. The new archaeological museum in Athens is the most magnificent state of the art building at the foot of the Acropolis. The original statues are in rooms facing the Parthenon, so that they blend with the replica casts outside to give a spectacular view and enhance understanding of the importance of what was created by the ancient Greeks.

Twenty-two million visitors came to Greece last year, many of those drawn by the country’s historical significance. They also come for the weather. Seeing the Acropolis and the Parthenon where the marbles belong in bright sunshine under blue skies takes your breath away. As Mercouri pointed out, 95 per cent of Greeks will never see the missing Parthenon marbles in their lifetime. It makes no sense.

no
The reason so many people believe the Parthenon sculptures should be returned to Greece is that activists dishonestly keep telling everyone that Elgin stole them. He quite plainly had full permission to take them. The Acropolis was a military base with restricted access back then. Hundreds of local workmen laboured for years to take down the sculptures in broad daylight, transport them to Piraeus, then load them onto ships—all under the eyes of the authorities. Looking at all the evidence, no judge would convict Elgin of theft.

You say the purchase has no legitimacy because the Ottomans were an occupying power. But that is not how the world works. Greece is not the only country to have been conquered (the ancient Greeks, you will recall, were pretty good at conquering themselves). The Ottomans ran Greece for nearly 400 years from the mid-1400s. Are you saying that throughout that period every governmental decision was invalid until Prince Otto of Bavaria became King of Greece in 1832? As you can guess from the name, he was not Greek either. Hundreds of countries have suffered conquest: borders move, peoples shift. When Elgin saw the destruction of the Parthenon and wanted to save its sculptures, who do you say he should have asked?

It is also not correct to say that the sculptures he left survived “more or less intact.” They are in a dreadful condition—pitifully damaged by acid rain and pollution. Many were not brought indoors until the 1990s. Some are still on the Parthenon. The only reason some exhibits in the Acropolis Museum look so good is because Elgin’s original casts were used to inspire models and significant restoration work. It is true that the British Museum used abrasive restoration techniques in the 1930s (along with the rest of the world, including Greece), but the damage was insignificant compared with the degradation caused by exposure to 20th-century pollution in Athens.

yes
What belongs together should be together. Imagine if English people had to see St Paul’s without its dome or only half of Stonehenge. The marbles don’t make sense out of their natural setting.

For more than 2,000 years, the Parthenon and its marbles withstood the weather, invasions and wars, and stood as a symbol of the values that created what we now know as Euro-Atlantic civilisation. Then an Englishman extracted them and buried them in a building in London.

I do not dispute that borders move over the centuries; that occupying powers come and go; that the world changes. But Greece is still there; the Hellenes have not been expatriated or evicted; and the Parthenon stands where it stood.

There was no legitimacy in the Ottoman occupation, and there was even less in taking from an enslaved nation the stones that personified its history. But debating the morality, legality or motives of a British diplomat accredited to an occupying power can fill pages. And the idea that possession is all that matters is asymmetrical and unworthy.

Today, great nations know how to make good and offer restitution for what happened in the past. In 1863, Henry John Temple, Lord Palmerston, invented gunboat diplomacy when he sent the Royal Navy to bombard Athens in a show of imperial power. Britain no longer has an empire but it has the chance to prove it is great again by returning the marbles to their legitimate owners.

no
This debate cannot be argued with flattering distractions about Britain’s magnanimity. This is a serious question about the world’s museums and what they should hold. For example, the National Archaeological Museum in Athens has a large collection of Egyptian antiquities. Should these be returned? Or are museums allowed to acquire pieces legitimately for exhibition to the public? Ultimately, in terms of provenance, there is nothing that puts the Parthenon sculptures into a special category.

I agree that the new Acropolis Museum is stunning. I also believe that an exhibition there of all the Parthenon sculptures, reunited, bathed (through glass) in Athenian light, would be magnificent for all lovers of classical Greece. I would be the first to buy my ticket. But Greece has flatly refused the British Museum’s offer to loan them the sculptures. So where does that leave things?

What needs to change is the language of the debate. The world should be able to discuss these wonderful sculptures without half-truths, nationalist emotion or false accusations against Elgin, whose courage and love of art saved them. When he arrived, the Parthenon was a roofless wreck: gutted and defaced by the Greek Church and blown up in 1687. Without Elgin, there would likely have been no realisation in Ottoman Athens that the Parthenon’s remaining decoration (about half) was unique, and the chances are that there would now be nothing left at all.

MacGregor and Cuno – in harmony over opposition to restitution

Posted at 11:07 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Neil MacGregor’s comments earlier this week about the Parthenon Marbles and why he believed that they should remain in his museum.

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

Parthenon Marbles in British Museum

From:
Modern Ghana

Feature Article | 14 November 2014 Last updated at 12:28 CET
British Museum Director Defends Once More Retention Of Parthenon Marbles
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.

“Yes. It’s not even a Greek monument. Many other Greek cities and islands protested bitterly about the money taken from them to build this in Athens.”– Neil MacGregor on the Parthenon Marbles.

On reading the recent statements of Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, regarding the restitution of the Parthenon Marbles, I had to remind myself constantly that I was not reading an old article but a fresh report of an interview with Richard Morrison, in the British newspaper, the Times.

The director of the British Museum has not changed, improved or modified his position on the issues. (1) He is singing the same song as James Cuno even though in a different key. (2) We shall spare the reader the time and effort of going through all the untenable British arguments which have been discussed elsewhere. (3)
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Disputed artefact lists and looted artefact lists

Posted at 10:56 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Only a few days after publishing a list of disputed artefacts, the Guardian has now also published a list of looted artefacts..

Many of the comments I made in my introduction to the original piece still stand. It has been stated in the past that each artefact dispute is unique & should be judged on its own merits (i.e. the argument that return would set a precedent is unfounded). This lists shows just how diverse the category of looted artefacts is.

I’m also not quite sure how a list of the ten most notorious looted artworks can manage to omit the Parthenon Marbles.

The bust of Nefertiti in Germany's Neues Museum, claimed by Egypt

The bust of Nefertiti in Germany’s Neues Museum, claimed by Egypt

From:
Guardian

From Napoleon to the Nazis: the 10 most notorious looted artworks
Romans, Nazis, Victorian-era Brits, noughties cat-burglars – they have all stolen priceless works. Here are the most shocking art thefts of the last two millennia
Ivan Lindsay
Thursday 13 November 2014 17.31 GMT

Looting has been part of human behaviour since ancient times. The Romans did it in their very first conquest, in 396 BC. They stripped the city of Veii of anything valuable and established a template for looting that lasted over 2,000 years. It was only in 1815 that the Congress of Vienna made the first serious effort at post-conflict restitution of plundered art.

After the Romans it became standard practice for a victor to remove all treasure from the vanquished, to weaken their status. Booty also provided handy funds to pay for military campaigns.
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Indiana Jones: talented archaeologist or feckless looter?

Posted at 1:56 pm in Similar cases

Possibly the most well known archaeologist is Indiana Jones. Of course, he isn’t a real person, but for people who would not normally read articles on archaeology, he might be the closest that they would ever get to one.

The reality though is that the way he acts is more akin to being a looter than a true archaeologist. Real archaeology take far more time & effort, although it might not have quite the same number of fast moving action scenes as say Raiders of the Lost Ark.

What is particularly unfortunate though is that some archaeologists (Zahi Hawass – we’re looking at you) seem to feel a need to style themselves on Harrison Ford’s character).

Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom - original movie poster

Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom – original movie poster

From:
Salon

Sunday, Nov 9, 2014 11:00 PM +0000
“Indiana Jones would be considered a looter”: Why we’re obsessed with glamorizing archaeologists
The lives of real archaeologists are even stranger than fiction, and a whole lot harder
Laura Miller

Several years ago, while researching a story on biblical archaeology, I had the chance to talk to a leader in the field by telephone. At one point, he kindly provided me with a lengthy explanation of pottery seriation, the means by which archaeologists track the history of a particular site. Styles of pottery change over time and vary from culture to culture, so if an archaeologist excavating a heap of broken shards encounters a layer of pieces radically different from the one below it, it’s likely a sign that a new population had moved in. “I’m sorry,” the archaeologist laughed when he finished. “It’s pretty boring.”

To the contrary. “I get paid to look at people’s trash” said one of the itinerant archaeologists interviewed by Marilyn Johnson for her new book, “Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble,” and she wasn’t wrong. The man who told me about pottery seriation has spent his life studying broken crockery, after all. But the great and undying magic of archaeology is just how much ancient rubbish can tell us. Sherlock Holmes may have used his encyclopedic knowledge of tobacco ash to catch criminals, but archaeologists can use animal teeth and plant seeds to change our understanding of the world.
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November 11, 2014

Reborn Getty Villa for post Marion True era – now looting-wary

Posted at 2:05 pm in Similar cases

The Getty has come under heavy attack from Italy in the last 10 years over numerous allegations of looting.

Now, a change of management later, they are describing themselves as being “looting-wary”. This is a great step forward, although I’m not sure they would have ever publicly stated before that they were looting-heedless. Publicly, they always maintained their stance that due diligence had been followed, but this all fell apart with the raid on the warehouse of art dealer Giacomo Medici.

Aphrodite statue returned to the Getty by Italy

Aphrodite statue returned to the Getty by Italy

From:
Art Newspaper

Getty plans to redisplay the Getty Villa
Acquisitions and long-term loans will expand focus beyond Ancient Greece and Rome
By Jori Finkel. Web only
Published online: 03 November 2014

Timothy Potts, the first director of the J. Paul Getty Museum with a PhD in ancient art and archaeology, has had ambitious ideas for revamping the Getty Villa since taking on the job two years ago. Now, after the appointment of Jeffrey Spier as the senior curator of antiquities, he reveals how the Getty’s plans for the villa are starting to take shape. He also tells The Art Newspaper that the Getty is planning to expand its antiquities collection to embrace ancient Mediterranean cultures beyond the museum’s traditional Greek and Roman focus. To achieve this the Los Angeles museum is working to organise long-term loans from other major museums, Potts says, and to make new acquisitions.

In their first interview together, Potts and Spier discussed their vision for fully reinstalling the galleries of the faux-Roman villa on the edge of Malibu that is home to the museum’s Roman and Greek antiquities. The current arrangement is a legacy of the Getty’s former antiquities curator, Marion True. Unveiled in 2006, True’s thematic displays, for example “Gods and Goddesses” and “Athletes and Competition”, mix objects of different periods.
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Q&A with David Hill followed Parthenon Marbles film screening

Posted at 1:48 pm in Elgin Marbles, International Association

Following the screening of Promakhos at Australia’s Greek film festival, IARPS chair David Hill gave a question & answer session about the issues surrounding the sculptures. He is of course ideally placed to do this, having recently returned from accompanying the team of lawyers that met with various senior officials in Greece.

Promotional image for the Promakhos movie

Promotional image for the Promakhos movie

From:
Greek Reporter

Parthenon Marbles Film Premiers at Greek Film Festival
by Ioanna Zikakou – Nov 3, 2014

The Delphi Bank 21st Greek Film Festival came to a close on Sunday November 2 with a subject that is close to the heart of every Greek and Philhellene. John and Coerte Voorhees’ Promakhos premiered to two sold-out Sydney audiences at Palace Norton Street Leichhardt, a love story about two Greek Attorneys who sue the British Museum for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece.

In the frontline for the campaign to return Marbles is archeologist David Hill, Chairman of the Australians for the Return of the Parthenon Sculptures and since 2005 the President of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.
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November 7, 2014

British Museum boss: Parthenon Marbles acquisition was legal

Posted at 2:47 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

No one expects the British Museum to just suddenly acquiesse on the issue of the Parthenon Sculptures. Even by their own standards though, some of what is in the latest interview with their Director, Neil MacGregor, is pushing the bounds of credibility.

Now – to the best of my knowledge, the only firman (or permit) that Elgin ever managed to show to anyone (in Italian translation) stated that he had permission to make measure, sketch & make casts of the sculptures and buildings on the site. It also stated that they could dig up inscribed blocks that might have been preserved in the rubble. Some of the Parthenon Sculptures may fall into this category, but the vast majority were sawn from the building by Elgin. The firman is fairly specific in its wording regarding taking casts, so it seems that it would be an odd omission to describe other things in such detail, but not to mention that he was also allowed to remove large chunks of the ancient monument & saw it apart to remove the sculptures from it. On this basis alone, I think it would be safe to say that the legality of the removal is called into question.

Neil MacGregor however seems to see things a different way – and he believes that most other people do too. He asks himself “Was the acquisition legal?” and then immediately responds “I think everybody would have to agree that it was.” Hearing things such ass this only helps to convince me that a major change of tactics is needed if the sculptures are to return to Greece any time soon. When the institution that holds them is so emphatically certain that they are right, it is hard to start any sort of serious negotiations.

MacGregor falls on a peculiar fallacy, that because it took a long time to remove the sculptures (this is true & well documented), that therefore lots of people must have seen him do it & therefore as he was not stopped, what was doing must have been legal. If a criminal used this as a defence today, we wouldn’t use it as evidence of the legality of their actions though – merely that they were adept at avoiding getting caught.

It is clear from his statements that the British Museum has no fear of the UNESCO mediation request – they believe that UNESCO should deal only with governments, so it does not apply to them. The British Government will of course take the line that it is not the decision for the government can make, and note that the responsibility falls to the Trustees of the British Museum. This is a true assessment of things – but if the government had a will to do something, I’m sure they would not be adverse to leaning on the Trustees & trying to get them to deal with the issue.

MacGregor also highlights another major stumbling block (although I’m sure that he does not see it this way), that Greece must acknowledge that the British Museum is the legal owner of the sculptures, before any negotiations can begin. As a large part of Greece’s claim rests on the fact that the marbles were not legally acquired, then to state that they were before any negotiations would be a disaster. Why would they want to relinquish a big chunk of their arguments before they even start? If the same thing happened in trials over the ownership of Nazi loot, there would be a public outcry.

Throwing one final stone over his parapet, MacGregor shows that the museum is entirely remorseless on the issue (or perhaps entirely misunderstands the issue), stating that even if Elgin was to do the same now, it would still be legal by the standards of the museum. Using as an example (an entirely different situation of) archaeological digs in Sudan, where they have been invited to excavate by the authorities. To understand just how spurious this example is, note that:
1. The government of Sudan is not seen by Britain to be an occupying power.
2. The permits & what they allow them to do / not do, are presumably carefully documented, checked by various lawyers & certified copies filed away somewhere securely.
3. The terms of the permits are presumably adhered to, without massive ad-hoc undocumented changes to the mission.

I’m sure if I looked into it in more detail, many more details would show just what a ridiculous comparison is being made here.

British Museum Director Neil MacGregor

British Museum Director Neil MacGregor

From:
The Times

Neil MacGregor: ‘There is no possibility of putting the Elgin Marbles back’
Richard Morrison
Published at 12:01AM, November 7 2014

The British Museum director explains why the Parthenon Sculptures will not be returned to Greece during his tenure

If he’s a man under pressure he seems blithely unaware of it. At precisely 8.58am last Tuesday morning a dapper 68-year-old docks his Boris bike and walks through the great gates of his institution, which are still closed to the public. “Morning, Neil,” says the security guard. “Gentleman from The Times waiting to see you.” The director of the British Museum has arrived for work.
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November 6, 2014

Venizelos offers Britain other loans in return for Marbles

Posted at 8:28 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles

Reading some of this article feels a bit like history repeating itself. Back in late 2002, when Evangelos Venizelos was Culture Minister, he presented the UK with a summary of the limitations of Greece’s demands for the Marbles, along with what they might expect to receive in return. In effect, what he came up with was a win-win situation, although the British Museum refused to recognise it as such.

Many changes of government later, after being finance minister during possibly the toughest of times during the unravelling of the Greek debt crisis, Venizelos is now Deputy Prime Minister in the current coalition government. He has take the opportunity of announcing loans of artefacts to an exhibition in Canada, as an opportunity to re-iterate these demands. This is great news, as for many years, there was no clear offer on the table & there was much speculation in the absence of a new offer, as to whether the old one was still valid. What Venizelos describes here sounds remarkable similar – if anything more flexible (perpetual loan, rather than a series of separate short term loans).

As a separate point, in the past, I have highlighted that Greece has never really withdrawn cooperation from Britain to put pressure on them in the way that other countries (notably Iran) have tried to, to secure artefact returns. From what Venizelos describes though, it seems that the deal with Canada could be the evidence of a similar sort of strategy. Greece will not stop cooperating with Britain – but it will offer greater levels of cooperation to other countries wanting to organise temporary exhibitions etc.

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos

From:
Ottawa Citizen

Greece hopes exhibit at Museum of History will help free Elgin Marbles from Britain
Don Butler
Published on: November 3, 2014Last Updated: November 3, 2014 1:30 PM EST

ATHENS • Greece hopes a blockbuster exhibit coming to the Canadian Museum of History next year will boost its argument for repatriating the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum, foreign minister Evangelos Venizelos said Monday.

In an act the Greeks have long characterized as looting, British diplomat Lord Elgin removed about half of the surviving classical Greek sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens between 1801 and 1812 and shipped them to Britain.

The British government purchased the artifacts in 1816 and passed them to the British Museum in London, where they remain on display to this day.

In a meeting with Canadian journalists and officials from the Canadian Museum of History, Venizelos was asked if Greece’s willingness to allow more than 500 rare artifacts to travel to Canada and the United States was partly a tactic to ramp up pressure on the British to return the long-sought sculptures.
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November 4, 2014

Ethics of art repatriation and responsibility to protect heritage

Posted at 10:27 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

In this interview, Smithsonian curator Masum Momaya talks (amongst other things) about the patronising way that the British Museum continues to rebuff any claims made by India for the restitution of artefacts taken from the country during the time of the Raj.

The Sultanganj Buddha is one of many artefacts in the UK subject to ownership claims by India

The Sultanganj Buddha is one of many artefacts in the UK subject to ownership claims by India

From:
Financial Chronical (India)

A sense of history
By Gargi Bhattacharya
Nov 03 2014

Smithsonian curator Masum Momaya on the ethics of art repatriation and the moral responsibility of countries to preserve their culture and heritage

A curator at the Smithsonian Institution, Masum Momaya has a 20-year experience working for gender, race and class equality, and her curatorial portfolio includes multimedia, multilingual and themed exhibitions. The Stanford University graduate and Harvard University post-graduate is in India to showcase her exhibition, Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation, in collaboration with the American Center. Of Indian-American descent herself, Momaya prides herself on being able to situate her work in the best of both worlds. Excerpts from the interview…

As a curator of some experience, how would you say Indian heritage is represented in western museums?
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