Showing results 397 - 408 of 468 for the tag: Restitution.

November 10, 2008

How museums became looters

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

Sharon Waxman’s book on the looted artefacts filling some of the world’s greatest museums is getting quite a bit of media attention. Its position is almost completely the opposite of that taken by James Cuno in his book published earlier this year. In many ways it could be said that Cuno represents the view of the museums whilst Waxman ‘s view is more closely aligned to that of the general public. In countries such as Britain though, a large amount of the funding for the largest museums comes from tax payers via the government – so surely these institutions should be doing more to reflect what the public expects of them?

From:
New York Times

Art of the Steal
By HUGH EAKIN
Published: November 7, 2008

Loot is an ugly word. Derived from ­Hindi and Sanskrit, it emerged in British India, where it no doubt proved useful in describing some of the more sordid transactions of empire. In the 20th century, it was applied to Jewish art collections systematically plundered by Hitler and, later, to electronics pilfered from shop windows during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Most recently — and perhaps most provocatively — it has been wielded against well-to-do American museums whose pristine specimens of ancient civilizations have with shocking frequency turned out to be contraband.
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Fighting back after the plunder of the ancient world

Posted at 1:50 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Another review of Sharon Waxman’s book on the looted antiquities that fill many museums of the West.

From:
Boston Globe

Golden fleeces
For centuries the West has plundered the treasures of the ancient world; now some nations are fighting back
By Michael Kammen
November 9, 2008

LOOT:The Battle Over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World
By Sharon Waxman
Times, 414 pp., illustrated, $30

Have you ever wondered why the Rosetta stone (so crucial to our understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphics), discovered by Napoleon’s army in 1799, is situated in the British Museum? Or why a Babylonian stele called the Code of Hammurabi, the earliest known legal code in human society (“an eye for an eye”), is located in the Louvre in Paris? Or how the beautiful bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti ended up as the showpiece of a Berlin museum?
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November 6, 2008

Who owns treasures such as the Parthenon Sculptures?

Posted at 1:30 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Sharon Waxman’s book questions the ideology that many of the West’s great museums are based on. Should we accept now that the world has moved on & that it is time start rethinking our museums?

From:
Time

The Skimmer
Who Owns Ancient Treasures?
By Gilbert Cruz Thursday, Nov. 06, 2008
Loot by Sharon Waxman

Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World
Sharon Waxman
Times Books; 414 pages

The Gist:
The great museums of the world are stuffed with spoils of war. They’re crammed with stolen relics and permanently borrowed treasures, beautiful icons obtained through shady means and cultural riches that their countries of origin want back — right now. In her look at the debate over who owns ancient art, Waxman, a former Hollywood reporter for the New York Times profiles four museums—the Louvre, the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum—and poses the question, “Shall we empty [them] because one source country after another seeks the return of treasures past?”
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November 3, 2008

Dealing with the plundering of antiquities

Posted at 1:56 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Another review of Sharon Waxman’s new book about the looting that fills the museums of the West.

From:
Dallas Morning News

‘Loot’ by Sharon Waxman: Author delves into the plundering of antiquities
12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, November 2, 2008
By ALEXANDRA WITZE / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
books@dallasnews.com Alexandra Witze is chief of correspondents for America for the science journal Nature.

Classical scholar Marion True, a curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, was a leading light in the museum world, until her passion for antiquities landed her in court in Italy.

In a bizarre series of events starting in 2005, Italian prosecutors pursued her for allegedly covering up earlier transactions in which the Getty had bought looted artifacts for its collection. Yet Ms. True had long fought against the murky underworld of smuggled antiquities, and many now feel she became a scapegoat in an ongoing battle between august Western institutions and the often-poorer countries from which the world’s great artifacts were taken.
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October 27, 2008

The ethics of museum acquisitions

Posted at 2:00 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

In recent years, peple have started to ask more & more questions about how museums have acquired some of the artefacts in their collections. It is also clear that some of the museums are finding themselves in very uncomfortable situations because of this.

From:
Kansas City Star

Posted on Sat, Oct. 25, 2008
Ethical questions haunt museums’ acquisition of antiquities
By STEVE PAUL
The Kansas City Star

W hen the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art announced last year that it had acquired a colorful, ancient Egyptian coffin, officials presented a small sheaf of paperwork affirming that all was on the up and up.

This was no back-door, black-market deal involving improperly exported cultural patrimony, the documents were meant to say.
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October 24, 2008

The battle over the stolen treasures of the ancient world

Posted at 1:46 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

A new book by Sharon Waxman looks at how many museums of the West have relied heavily on looted artefacts to build up their collections, even in comparatively recent times.

From:
Truthdig

Book Review
Karl E. Meyer on Sharon Waxman’s ‘Loot’
Posted on Oct 24, 2008
By Karl E. Meyer

I devoured “Loot: The Battle Over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World” with particular zest, having published in 1973 an earlier account of the same cultural underworld, “The Plundered Past.” A seasoned reporter with an Oxford degree in Middle East studies, Sharon Waxman has updated and surpassed my explorations, in part because the outcry over the illicit traffic has reached fever pitch, provoking voluble, angry and indiscreet utterances from curators, collectors, dealers and a new breed of watchdogs, viz.:

“You end up thinking we’re all a bunch of looters, thieves, exploiters, that we’re some kind of criminals … but who would be interested in Greek sculpture if it were all in Greece? These pieces are great because they’re in the Louvre.” So protests Aggy Leroule, the Louvre’s press attaché, and so complain directors, trustees and publicists at the many great temples of art and archaeology. Yet there are also dissidents, an unlikely example being Thomas Hoving, once the acquisition-obsessed director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and now a fallen Lucifer who recalls, almost with relish, his prevarications past.
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Chronicles of Mann to remain victims of anti-deaccessioning laws

Posted at 12:57 pm in Similar cases

The anti-deaccessioning laws that govern the British Museum & many of Britain’s other national museums & galleries are a consistent source of frustration for those pursuing restitution claims. Despite some loosening of the laws & other proposed changes, the regulations set out in the Acts of Parliament that govern these institutions stop most restitution claims from ever being properly considered.

The usual answer given is that whether or not they (the institution in question) wanted to return the artefacts, the law would not let them do so. This always seems like a bit of a smoke screen though – it is rare to see them suggesting that these laws are changed & one wonders what the next excuse would be once this barrier would be removed. On the other hand, as public opinion has shifted, the return of human remains has become a relatively accepted practise.

The case discussed below is also interesting, as it is a nominally intranational case in the same was as the Lindisfarne Gospels & the Lewis Chessmen.

From:
Iomtoday

Published Date: 23 October 2008
Chronicles won’t be coming home

ONE of the most important Manx historical documents will remain in the ownership of the British Library for the forseeable future, Chief Minister Tony Brown announced in Tynwald this week.
Enquiries had been made by the Manx government about the Chronicles of Mann being returned to the Island but hope was dashed because the British Library is legally obliged to keep its artefacts.

‘The ultimate aim was to have the Chronicles of Mann returned to the Isle of Man,’ Mr Brown said.
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October 23, 2008

Turkey wants Knidos Lion to be returned

Posted at 12:38 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The town of Datça in Turkey is asking for the return of the Knidos Lion & a statue of Demeter, artefacts from the area currently in the British Museum. This request follows on from others that Turkey has made in the past for artefacts that have been taken from the countries ancient sites.

From:
Today’s Zaman
23 October 2008, Thursday

Datça to seek return of ancient sculptures
The town of Datça, in Muğla province, is planning to apply to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for the return of a sculpture known as the “Knidos Lion” and a statue of Demeter. The pieces are currently being exhibited at the British Museum in London.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, the mayor of Datça, Erol Karakullukçu, said they want to take back the carvings, which were found in the ancient city of Knidos near Datça and that they will petition the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for their return. Karakullukçu said, “In order to keep the public aware that these sculptures were made in Datça thousands of years ago, and that they were taken to be exhibited in Britain, we made marble replicas of the original sculptures and exhibit them at the city park.”
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October 21, 2008

Why looted artefacts should be returned

Posted at 12:36 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Kwame Opoku comments on yesterday’s news, that after sixty years, if may become legally possible for Britain’s national museums to return some artefacts that are known to have been taken illegally.

From:
Modern Ghana

WILL BRITAIN JOIN OTHER NATIONS IN RETURNING STOLEN/LOOTED ARTWORKS TO THE RIGHTFUL OWNERS?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Mon, 20 Oct 2008

It looks as if Britain is finally coming to the conclusion that stolen/looted cultural objects should be returned to their rightful owners. According to a report in the Telegraph, new legislation is on the way to allow the British Museum and other national museums to return artworks that were stolen/looted by the Nazis. The legislation will be specifically limited to works stolen/looted during the Nazi era that are now in the possession of many British national galleries and museum. The position until now has been that even if one had all the necessary evidence that a particular piece of work hanging in the British institutions was stolen, confiscated by the Nazis or sold under intimidation to the evil men of Hitler, they could not return them to the owners. They could offer compensation to the owners.
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October 18, 2008

What can be learnt from the Egyptian approach to restitution

Posted at 2:05 pm in Similar cases

Zahi Hawass has championed the cause of cultural property restitution in Egypt in recent years. What can other countries learn from his approach?

From:
Afrikanet

Written by Dr. Kwame Opoku
Friday, 17 October 2008
SHALL WE LEARN FROM ZAHI HAWASS ON HOW TO RECOVER STOLEN/LOOTED CULTURAL OBJECTS?

We may not all agree with Zahi Hawass in his style and manner of approach to the issue of restitution of stolen or looted artefacts but there is no denying that the famous Egyptologist, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, has been extremely effective in his tasks and knows his job. This is no mean feat in a period where some of those having the fate of millions in their hands do not seem to have mastered their jobs.
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October 12, 2008

The British Museum’s claims to the Rosetta Stone

Posted at 6:22 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Jonathan Downs, the author of Discovery at Rosetta, which I mentioned a few weeks ago, has kindly sent me the text of the concluding chapter of this book. This chapter looks at the case for the return of the Rosetta Stone to Egypt – both its legality & the arguments surrounding it. The case for the restitution of the Rosetta Stone has a lot of parallels with the Parthenon Marbles – their acquisitions were roughly contemporaneous, they both came from outposts of what was at that time the Ottoman Empire, They both ended up in the British Museum.

The author has also offered to respond to any queries that people make in the comments on this message.

From:
Jonathan Downs (by email)

The following is an extract from Discovery at Rosetta (by Jonathan Downs, Constable, 2008, pp.210-215) outlining the current status of the Rosetta Stone, the facts governing its legal ownership and its possible repatriation to Egypt:

THE ROSETTA STONE: A PROUD TROPHY?

Despite the Rosetta Stone’s public profile, historically its status as an exhibit in the British Museum has not been nearly as contested as that of the ‘Elgin’ or Parthenon Marbles. To many it is immediately recognizable and more memorable than the sculptures that were formerly part of the Athenian Acropolis. This is understandable; until the end of the 1990s the Rosetta Stone rested on an angled frame close to the entrance of the museum – unavoidable, it was one of the first objects to be encountered, and crowds of visitors have gathered round it for the past two hundred years. Cleaned by conservators, it now occupies an equally prominent position in the centre of the Egypt collection by the Great Court entrance, upright within a protective case, still one of the most famous objects in the world. Before the arrival of the antiquities from Egypt in 1802, the British Museum contained little grand sculpture, its halls filled chiefly with smaller curiosities. The acquisition of the Rosetta Stone and the cargo from the Alexandria victory was an important step in the development of the institution.
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October 10, 2008

What benefit does Africa get from collaboration in international exhibitions

Posted at 12:58 pm in Similar cases

In today’s globalised climate of art exhibitions drawing artefacts from around the world, much is made of the benefits to everyone of sourcing these pieces that might otherwise have not been seen. Is this something that really benefits the source communities though, or is it more of a one way process?

From:
Modern Ghana

DOES COLLABORATION BETWEEN NIGERIAN AND EUROPEAN /AMERICAN MUSEUMS BRING US CLOSER TO RESTITUTION OF NIGERIA’S STOLEN/LOOTED ARTS?
By Kwame Opoku, Dr.
Feature Article | Sat, 08 Nov 2008

As readers may know, many Africans are very suspicious of collaboration with museums and institutions that have shown by their history and practice that they do not care much for the interest and feelings of Nigerians and Africans generally. In the article below by Tajudeen Sowole, a Nigerian art critic raises several issues concerning the cooperation between Nigerian museums and institutions with European/American museums. In particular, he wonders whether the collaboration between the Nigerian institutions and American/European museums in the recent exhibition Benin: Kings and Rituals-Court Arts from Nigeria has brought us closer to the restitution of the Benin artifacts or whether these objects will remain in Europe under the pretext that they are part of the universal heritage of mankind.
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