Showing results 1 - 12 of 336 for the tag: Looting.

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 15, 2014

Zahi Hawass faces allegations he facilitated antiquities thefts

Posted at 9:55 pm in Similar cases

For many years, Zahi Hawass took delight in being the official (and often controversial) representative of Egypt’s antiquities.

Since the fall of Mubarak though, many allegations have made about events that took place while he was in charge of the country’s antiquities.

former Egyptian Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass

former Egyptian Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass

From:
Guardian

Former Egyptian antiquities minister faces questions over theft from pyramid
Zahi Hawass denies claim that he helped German hobbyists steal samples from Great Pyramid at Giza
Patrick Kingsley in Cairo
The Guardian, Wednesday 12 November 2014 14.04 GMT

The world’s most famous contemporary Egyptologist, Zahi Hawass, has been summoned for questioning over claims that he helped three German hobbyists steal rock samples from inside Egypt’s largest pyramid. Hawass denies the charges, saying “there is nothing against me”.

In April 2013, the three Germans – two amateur archaeologists and a film-making accomplice – crept inside the inner sanctum of the Great Pyramid at Giza, the last the seven wonders of the ancient world to remain relatively intact.
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November 14, 2014

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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November 3, 2014

Different types of artefact dispute

Posted at 10:57 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

The list of disputed artefacts from The Guardian is different to many others, in that it has widened its remit, to include any artefact that have some dispute relating to them. as a result, while some are well know restitution cases such as the Bust of Nefertiti or the Parthenon Marbles, in other cases the dispute relates to who the work itself actually depicts, or who originally produced the painting. as a result, it ends up a rather confused list, presenting a mixed message, where well grounded restitution cases such as the Parthenon Sculptures are mixed up with discussions over the authenticity of works by Pollock.

That is not to say that the list is without interest however – if anything, it helps to reinforce the importance of provenance in giving the true value to a work of art. Without it, the matter of where it came from & who created it will always be the subject of debate.

Picasso's Boy leading a horse in the MoMA is subject to claims that it was looted during the holocaust

Picasso’s Boy leading a horse in the MoMA is subject to claims that it was looted during the holocaust

From:
Guardian

The 10 best disputed artworks
Laura Cumming
Friday 31 October 2014 12.00 GMT

As Greek efforts to reclaim the Parthenon Marbles receive a boost from Amal Clooney, Laura Cumming considers other artworks caught up in legal and artistic wrangling

The Parthenon Marbles
The great frieze of figures removed from the Parthenon by Lord Elgin in the early 19th century remains the most perennially disputed of all artworks, the arguments as divided as the sculptures themselves – the goddess Iris’s head is in Athens, her body in the British Museum; Poseidon’s torso is split between them. Defenders argue that Elgin bankrupted himself to save the marbles from local destruction, with full Greek authority, and London is their legal home. The opposition (which has included Byron, Christopher Hitchens and of course now the Clooneys) argues that the marbles were literally “ripped off” the Parthenon, and ruinously scoured, and must be returned to Greece.

The Household of Philip IV, ‘Las Meninas’, Kingston Lacy, Dorset
In 1814 an Englishman abroad thought he had come upon Velázquez’s first version of Las Meninas (1656) – not that he, or practically anyone else at that time, had seen the original in the Spanish royal palace. William Bankes MP bought the canvas for Kingston Lacy, his Dorset home, calling it “the pride of England”. It shows the celebrated scene on a much smaller scale and with strange anomalies, not least the fact that the famous mirror at the back is empty. Some believe it to be a preliminary oil sketch, most that it is undoubtedly a copy by his son-in-law Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo. The row still rages: the Prado held a conference only this year.
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October 27, 2014

Expropriation of artefacts as a demonstration of power

Posted at 9:55 pm in Similar cases

This article is prompted by the current state of affairs in Iraq & Syria, where ISIS fighters are systematically destroying heritage from cultures that do not fit entirely into their worldview. This is not a new approach however & has been going on for as long as people can remember. The means & the stated aims might vary, but the end result – denigration of the culture of the local population – is invariably the outcome.

The empty seat once occupied by the Bamiyan Buddhas before they were systematically destroyed by the Taliban

The empty seat once occupied by the Bamiyan Buddhas before they were systematically destroyed by the Taliban

From:
Guardian

If great architecture belongs to humanity, do we have a responsibility to save it in wartimes?
Jeff Sparrow
Tuesday 7 October 2014 03.25 BST

The lands of Syria and Iraq gave rise to some the oldest societies we know: the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Parthians, the Romans and many others. Traces of all of these peoples remain in archeological sites of the utmost significance.

And now they’re being destroyed.

A fortnight ago, satellite imagery revealed the cultural effects of Syria’s civil war. “The buildings of Aleppo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, has suffered extensive damage,” explained Archaeology magazine. “The ancient city of Bosra, the ancient site of Palmyra, the ancient villages of Northern Syria, and the castles Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din have all been damaged by mortar impacts and military activity.”
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August 28, 2014

Ancient coins returned to Greece after New York investigation

Posted at 12:59 pm in Similar cases

As part of a plea bargain, during an investigation into black market trading of rare coins, the collector Arnold-Peter Weiss has agreed to return some of the disputed coins to GReece.

Ancient Greek coins returned after investigations into illicit trading

Ancient Greek coins returned after investigations into illicit trading

From:
Reuters

Ancient coins returned to Greece as part of New York plea deal
05/08/14 12:14 CET

A collection of ancient silver pieces forfeited during an undercover investigation into black-market coin trading in New York City was handed over to the Greek government at a ceremony on Monday, city officials said.

The repatriation of the five coins dating back to 515 BC resulted from a plea agreement by a Rhode Island orthopedic surgeon and longtime coin collector who was convicted of attempted criminal possession of rare stolen coins in 2012.
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April 30, 2014

Australia’s NGA relinquishes Dancing Shiva ownership claims

Posted at 1:05 pm in Similar cases

The Australian National Gallery in Canberra has now accepted claims from India, that one of the items in their collection is a looted temple idol from the province of Tamil Nadu.

A legal notice was submitted by India on March 26th & the gallery chose not to contest it, meaning that it is automatically handed over by the Gallery to the Australian government. Hopefully this will be the start of a hasty return of it to India.

This is a marked change since last year, where the gallery publicly refuted all claims that the Dancing Shiva idol might be looted.

The idol is central to investigations into rogue dealer Subhash Kapoor, who is awaiting trial in India & subject to investigations within the USA.

Dancing Shiva idol at the National Gallery of Australia

Dancing Shiva idol at the National Gallery of Australia

From:
The Hindu

Canberra gallery gives up claim on stolen idol
NIRUPAMA SUBRAMANIAN
Updated: April 30, 2014 01:20 IST

The National Gallery of Australia has surrendered to the Indian claim that a Chola-era Nataraja that it acquired for (A) $5.6 million had indeed been stolen from a village temple in Tamil Nadu, paving the way for an early return of the idol to India.

The NGA, Australia’s foremost art institution located in the national capital of Canberra, had 30 days to claim its ownership of the imposing bronze Nataraja after receiving a notice from the Australian Attorney General’s Department under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986. That deadline expired on April 26.
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April 29, 2014

The shame associated with the Sevso Hoard

Posted at 1:06 pm in Similar cases

Part of the disputed Sevso Hoard was recently returned to Hungary (purchased off an unidentified seller in London).

Colin Renfrew looks at some of the history of the treasure, and the losses both to archaeology & to peoples reputations over what has happened with it in the years since its discovery.

Sevso treasure in 1990

Sevso treasure in 1990

From:
Art Newspaper

Shame still hangs over the Sevso hoard
The recent return of seven of the 14 pieces of Roman silver to Hungary from the UK is a positive development in the find’s sad history
By Colin Renfrew. Comment, Issue 257, May 2014
Published online: 29 April 2014

It is a relief that the sorry story of the misappropriation of the great treasure of late Roman silverware known as the Sevso hoard now seems to be reaching an acceptable conclusion. A tangled tale of greed and irresponsibility by “collectors” in high places who might have known better, seeking a quick and easy profit and showing little respect for the world’s archaeological heritage, it ends where it presumably began, in Hungary.
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April 25, 2014

Auction houses turn a blind eye to looted artefacts

Posted at 2:22 pm in Similar cases

Just when I was thinking that the claims of due dilligence by auction houses were too good to be true – it turned out that they were.

Prasat Thom temple in Cambodia

Prasat Thom temple in Cambodia

From:
Gulf Times

Return to sender: Not easy at all
24 April 2014
By Kate Bartlett

Cambodia filed a suit against Sotheby’s, claiming the auction house had agreed to sell a warrior statue known as the Duryodhana while knowing it had been looted from its pedestal during the 1970s. By Kate Bartlett

Cambodia, which was heavily looted of many of its cultural riches during the Khmer Rouge years and the turbulent civil war that followed, is making concerted efforts to get its priceless antiquities back.
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April 16, 2014

Brit fined for attempting to auction looted Egyptian artefacts

Posted at 8:09 am in Similar cases

This case intrigues me for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the level of the fine is tiny – considering the crime involved & the value of the artefacts, it counts somewhat lower than a slap on the wrist in the overall scheme of things.

Secondly, the auction house (In this case Christies, although in my past experience, none of the big auction houses have a particularly good reputation when it comes to looted artefacts) takes the moral high ground, making a point about how their due diligence is responsible for bringing about this case. Now, unless I’m misunderstanding the article completely (or the article is incorrect), the sequence of events is rather different to this.

Firstly, Christies lists the looted artefacts. Then, the true origin of the artefacts is spotted by Marcel Marée, a curator at the British Museum, who goes on to alert Christies of this. Finally, Christies contacts the Metropolitan Police’s Arts and Antiques Unit. I see nothing here that really makes me confident in Christies due diligence – the only reason the items didn’t end up at auction was because they happened to be spotted by someone who was entirely independent of the Auction House, who then took their own effort to alert them.

The fact also needs to be noted that the items were smuggled from Egypt in a suitcase on a flight – more needs to be done by countries to protect the egress of looted artefacts through their borders, helping to stop the trade by making it much more difficult for international buyers.

Lot 61 An Egyptian painted limestone relief fragment 1550.1069 B.C

Lot 61 An Egyptian painted limestone relief fragment 1550.1069 B.C

From:
Ahram Online

Briton fined £500 by UK court for attempted sale of smuggled Egypt antiquities
Amer Sultan in London
Tuesday 15 Apr 2014

A UK court has fined a British citizen £500 after he admitted having attempted to sell a number of ill-gotten Egyptian antiquities.

Neil Kingsbury, who had previously worked on BBC documentary series about the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and other early archaeological adventures, was arrested after six items were identified in Christie’s London antiquities sale last year.
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