Showing results 37 - 48 of 458 for the tag: Restitution.

March 7, 2013

Should holding onto looted artefacts give museums & countries an upper hand in negotiating?

Posted at 8:47 am in British Museum, Similar cases

I have to say that I completely disagree with the general approach that this article advocates – which could be summarised, as something like: Wealthy Museums of the West (along with the countries in which they are based) can now use their disputed artefacts as bargaining chips, to secure political / cultural changes in the countries of the original owners.

If somebody robs your house, should that then give them the upper hand in securing some form of change in your lifestyle, before agreeing to return the items that they took?

Quite what gives these museums the right to enforce change on countries in this way is unclear, other than being down to the fact that they were fortunate enough to know people dis-reputable enough to have managed to acquire the artefacts in the first place – hardly a great endorsement for their policies, or for taking the moral high ground.

From:
Whistleblower

Looted art – hostage or weapon against terror?
Exclusive: Marisa Martin suggests U.S. start using its diplomacy tool
Published: 12/12/2012 at 8:58 PM

Vikings stormed Britain, while Mongols left Bagdad a culture-free zone. Warlords came, saw and trashed all the books and statues while they were at it. Even now someone is whacking away at the ankles of a limestone Buddha in India or Bangladesh.

Have times changed for the better?

Napoleon revitalized looting trends by demanding art from conquered Italians and churches. Since then, the Captains of Genocide have handled the art of their victims differently, particularly the Nazis. Probably the most prolific war thieves ever, they discarded entire races whiles secreting their art in stashes all over the globe. Art Loss Register, an international database, lists 300,000 missing and stolen artworks with approximately 85 percent occurring before 1945, not coincidentally with the demise of the Nazis.
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March 6, 2013

Germany celebrates 100 years since acquisition of Nefertiti bust

Posted at 6:56 pm in Similar cases

The Neferti bust is one of the most high profile artefacts that Egypt is requesting the return of. Germany’s latest actions only draw attention to this case though, by organising a special exhibition to commemorate the fact that it is 100 years since they acquired the artefact.

From:
Time

The Bust of Nefertiti: Remembering Ancient Egypt’s Famous Queen
By Ishaan Tharoor
Dec. 06, 2012

On a sunny afternoon on Dec. 6, 1912, an Egyptian worker at a dig along the banks of the Nile came across what may be the most striking find in the history of Egyptology. Ludwig Borchardt, the German archaeologist in charge of the excavation, scribbled excitedly in his diary a century ago: “The tools were put aside, and the hands were now used … It took a considerable amount of time until the whole piece was completely freed from all the dirt and rubble.” What emerged was a 3,300-year-old limestone bust of an ancient queen, colored with a gypsum lacquer. A flat-topped crown perched above a finely defined brow. Her cheekbones were high, nose distinguished. A thin, elegant neck — some now describe it “swanlike” — rose from the bust’s base. “We held the most lively piece of Egyptian art in our hands,” wrote Borchardt.

The bust is of Nefertiti, queen of Egypt and wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten, who reigned in the 14th century B.C. A hundred years after Nefertiti’s bust was lifted out of the ground at Amarna, some 480 km south of Cairo, it remains one of the most iconic figures of Egyptian antiquity, far smaller than the pyramids or the Sphinx, but no less globally resonant. The bust adorns souvenir schlock throughout Egypt and history schoolbooks worldwide. When it went on display at a museum in Berlin in the 1920s, it was almost immediately held up as a symbol of universal, timeless beauty. That’s not surprising. Nefertiti’s name means “the beautiful one has come.”
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Dallas museum returns looted mosaic to Turkey

Posted at 6:48 pm in Similar cases

Yet again, Turkey is in the news with a resolved restitution case. This time, it involves the Dallas Museum of Art. Interestingly though, the museum was the one that contacted Turkey after discovery that the artefact might have been looted – although whether this was as a pre-emptive move, knowing that they would be contacted by Turkey about it is unclear.

From:
Culture Kiosque

DALLAS MUSEUM RETURNS LOOTED MOSAIC TO TURKEY
By Culturekiosque Staff

DALLAS, TEXAS, 3 DECEMBER 2012 — The Dallas Museum of Art today signed a memorandum of understanding with the Turkish Director General for Cultural Heritage and Museums O. Murat Süslü, marking the first initiative in the Dallas Museum of Art’s new DMX international exchange program. DMX (Dallas Museum Exchange) is designed to establish international collaborations for the loan of works of art and sharing of expertise in conservation, exhibitions, education, and new media.

The DMA contacted Turkish officials earlier this year when the Museum discovered evidence that a work in the collection — the Orpheus Mosaic — might have been stolen from an archaeological site in Turkey. With the Museum’s planning for the DMX program already underway, the DMA’s engagement with Turkey regarding the mosaic opened the lines of communication that led to Turkey becoming the Museum’s first partner in the DMX program. As part of today’s ceremony for the signing of the MOU, the DMA returned the Orpheus Mosaic to the Turkish officials. The Republic of Turkey considers the voluntary return of the mosaic a sign of good faith, and both parties will undertake to continue their collaboration with museological education, conservation, symposia, and important loan exhibitions.
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Turkey versus the Met – challenging the Universal Museum

Posted at 4:48 pm in Similar cases

While many disagree with the concept of the Universal Museum, without an international legal framework in place, few challenges relating to pre-1970 acquisitions by such museums have yet been successful. The odd exceptions to this involve items such as Nazi loot, which are covered by different national laws in many countries.

Now, Turkey is putting pressure on the Met – not on recently acquired artefacts, but on items which left Turkey long before the 1970 cut off date. It will be interesting to see how much success they have with this – threats to withdraw cooperation have been criticised by the museums as blackmail – but it still represents a clear obstacle to the museums that must be negotiated around.

From:
Guardian

Turkey’s restitution dispute with the Met challenges the ‘universal museum’
Turkey is flexing its cultural, as well as its economic and military muscles. But objects of art outlive the ambitions of nation states
Jason Farago
Sunday 7 October 2012 14.00 BST

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, like most institutions of its size in the US and Europe, has seen its fair share of lawsuits and controversies surrounding its collection. It returned nearly two dozen antiquities to Italy in 2006, as well as work acquired via Nazi looting.

But now the Met is facing a very different kind of restitution battle. The Turkish government is insisting it is the rightful owner of 18 objects from the collection of Norbert Schimmel, a Met trustee and one of the last century’s most astute collectors of Mediterranean antiquities.
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Turkey seeks return of Halicarnasus mausoleum pieces

Posted at 4:36 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The return of the Mausoleum of Halicarnasus from the British Museum has been one of Turkey’s longest running restitution claims, but so far with no signs of success.

From:
Hurriyet Daily News

Bodrum seeks return of mausoleum pieces
September/25/2012
MUĞLA – Anatolia News Agency

Some pieces from Bodrum’s famous Mausoleum of Halicarnassus are on display at the British Museum, and work continues to bring them back to Turkey. Lawyer Remzi Kazmaz recently spoke about the mausoleum at a press conference

Work continues to get parts of Bodrum’s Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, which are currently kept at the British Museum in London, returned to Turkey.
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Looters of landlords – inconsistent behaviour of countries faced with restitution claims

Posted at 4:20 pm in Similar cases

Turkey has had many recent successes in retrieving disputed artefacts from abroad. This has not been without controversy though – there are many who feel that Turkey is applying different rules, depending on how it suits them, and highlight the problems such as the misappropriation of Armenian art by Turkey as an example of this.

From:
Assyrian International News Agency

Looters or Landlords?
Posted GMT 10-4-2012 0:11:55

Since Fatih Sultan Mohammed occupied Constantinople in 1453, the Ottoman rulers have been destroying and desecrating churches, castles, architectural monuments of Hittites, Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and other nationalities who had been the indigenous people of Asia Minor, occupied and ruled through blood and sword.

Now, all of a sudden, the destroyers of all these cultures presume to be landlords, claiming treasures originated in Asia Minor to be returned to the present government of Turkey. Those artifacts and treasures which have been preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Getty Museum, the Louvre and Pergamon Museum have been saved from the Turks themselves, becoming part of the legacy of human civilization. Had they been left in the hands of the Turks, they would have been doomed to suffer the same fate as the 2,000 Armenian churches, monasteries and architectural monuments which were systematically destroyed and rendered into ashes. After 200,000 Armenians escaped from Van in 1915, the Turkish Army burned tens of thousands of illuminated manuscripts and Bibles on the island monastery of Leem in Lake Akhtamar.
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Returning the lost Parthenon Marbles – lecture in Athens

Posted at 9:18 am in Elgin Marbles

This sounds like it was going to be an interesting lecture – unfortunately, I only discovered about it the day after it had taken place though.

Hopefully, they will put it on youtube at some point in the future.

From:
The Athens Centre

Lecture “Returning Lost Marbles’, by Ira Kaliampetsos

The Athens Centre would like to invite you to a guest lecture,
by Ira Kaliampetsos
Director of the Hellenic Society for Law and Archaeology

“Returning Lost Marbles:
Antiquities Restitution and the Law”

Tuesday, March 5, 2013, at 7:00pm

At The Athens Centre

Archimidous 48, Pangrati (Mets)

Wine and conversation follows the event. The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, please call 210-7015242 or 210-7012268.

Ira Kaliampetsos works as a lawyer in Athens. She earned her law degree from the Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany and continued her postgraduate studies on ‘Art and Law’ at the Karl-Franzens-University in Graz, Austria. Her professional experience includes working for the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs (a position she still holds), the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey and several assignments for election observation. In 2006 she co-founded the Hellenic Society for Law and Archaeology (www.law-archaeology.gr), a non- profit organization dealing with all aspects of antiquities law – a field in which her law office specializes in. She is also a founding member of the Hellenic Wildlife Care Association, ANIMA (www.wild-anima.gr).

Event information is also available on our Facebook page.

Pictures of the event are available here.

University of Pennsylvania museum returns disputed artefacts to Turkey on indefinite loan

Posted at 8:50 am in Similar cases

As part of their ongoing drive to secure the return of disputed artefacts, Turkey appears to have reached an agreement with the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, for the return of various artefacts on an indefinite loan. It is interesting, as it shows that for some museums, the idea of an indefinite loan as a solution to issues is a relatively straightforward option – yet, when the possibility has been raised with the British Museum as a means to return the Parthenon Sculptures, Greece has always been told that it is unworkable, and that any loan must have a definite (usually 3-4 month) period attached to it. This is of course, despite the fact that the British Museum itself has also entered into some fairly nebulous loan agreements in the past – and has been on the receiving end of many more (which it presumably does not complain about.

From:
Philly.com

Penn museum lends possibly plundered items to Turkey
September 07, 2012|By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer

Following a scientific analysis that suggested its collection of ancient, Trojan-style gold jewelry was looted from northwestern Turkey, the University of Pennsylvania announced this week that it had lent the 24 items to that country for an indefinite period.

In exchange, the Turkish government pledged to lend other artifacts for a one-year exhibit at Penn’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, including priceless items from Gordion, seat of power of King Midas. The country also promised support for ongoing excavations by Penn scholars within its borders.
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March 5, 2013

Restitution debates become ever more divisive

Posted at 9:28 am in Similar cases

As the modern globalised world becomes more closely connected, it is in some ways easier than ever, to become a collector of rare & ancient artefacts & amass a sizable collection fairly rapidly. Paradoxically though, it is at the same time becoming harder too, as purchases are subject to ever closer scrutiny.

From:
Financial Times

September 13, 2012 12:13 am
Home isn’t always where the art is
By Peter Aspden

As the drive to reclaim national treasures gathers pace, the restitution debate is growing ever more divisive

It is one of the art world’s greatest paradoxes: while the market for cultural treasures becomes more and more globalised, the clamour for those works to be repatriated to their country of origin becomes ever louder. In theory it has never been easier for museums, dealers and collectors to become international players on the art scene; in truth, it is getting more difficult by the day.

The claims for the restitution of works of art that are said to have been plundered from their native land grow apace. The case of the 10th-century Cambodian statue that was put up for auction last year by Sotheby’s, only to be blocked by a last-minute legal bid for repatriation, is only one recent example.
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Two US museums wrestle with complex questions of provenance

Posted at 9:16 am in Similar cases

An interesting story about how the archaeological museum of the University of Pennsylvania led to modern treaties on acquisition of unprovenanced artefacts – and how the artefacts that started the story are now returning to their presumed original home.

From:
Newsweek

Who Owns Antiquity?
Sep 10, 2012 1:00 AM EDT
Two U.S. museums wrestle with the provenance question.

In 1966, curators at the archaeological museum of the University of Pennsylvania bought a pile of gorgeous Bronze Age jewelry from a Philadelphia dealer. They couldn’t know their purchase would change how museums work.

The 24 gold objects had come to Penn with no trace of where they’d been unearthed, or how. That left scholars there without much clue about why and when the gold had been worked, or by whom— and with the suspicion that it had been dug up by looters. Frustrated, they decided to take steps to prevent this kind of “homelessness” for other antiquities. In 1970, they issued a declaration (a Philadelphia tradition, after all) insisting that the Penn museum would no longer acquire ancient objects whose history could not be properly tracked. Later that year, a UNESCO convention on cultural property suggested the same rule for all other museums, and since then, reputable institutions have pretty much toed that line.
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March 4, 2013

The British Museum refute their own floodgates argument & Cameron’s idea of returnism?

Posted at 2:16 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

This post does not add much that has not already been mentioned in previous posts, but what it does add is rather interesting.

Now, for a long time, one of the most common arguments raised against the return of the Parthenon Marbles is what is known as the floodgates argument. Essentially, this boils down to the idea that you can’t return anything from museums, because if you do it will open the floodgates & by the end of the process the museums will be emptied. This argument has been proven to be wrong many times over – artefacts already return nowadays on a regular basis & don’t open these floodgates. Furthermore, in places such as the US, where there have been laws relating to the return of native American artefacts for some time now, even museums with large ethnographic collections (i.e. those most at risk under this argument) have found that only a small proportion of their collection actually ends up having to leave the museum.

I have often highlighted (as have many others), that each case involving cultural property is very different to the other cases – here though, the British Museum takes the opportunity to point out the same thing. So… surely, if each case is completely different, then the floodgates argument can not exist in its current form. Why, if this were the case, would it be possible for one case to set a precedent that would immediately affect entirely different cases?

From:
BBC News

1 March 2013 Last updated at 11:34
Parthenon Marbles and Koh-i-Noor: Cameron opposes ‘returnism’
By Trevor Timpson BBC News

The prime minister has been criticised after he opposed calls to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece and the Koh-i-Noor diamond to India.

Mr Cameron was asked if he supported returning the diamond on 21 February when visiting Amritsar in India.
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British recalcitrance over returning the Kohinoor

Posted at 9:23 am in Similar cases

More coverage of proposals for the return of the Koh-i-noor diamond to India, following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s remarks during his visit to India.

From:
India America Today

British Recalcitrance on Restoring Kohinoor to India
Article | February 28, 2013 – 10:06am | By Neera Kuckreja Sohoni

San Francisco – On February 20, 2013, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron placed a wreath at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial in Amritsar thereby becoming the first serving British prime minister to voice regret about one of the British Raj’s bloodiest atrocities in India, entailing the massacre of unarmed civilians in the city of Amritsar in 1919.

On the downside, Cameron rejected any possibility of Britain returning the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, embedded in the British Queen’s crown and on display in the Tower of London.
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