Showing results 49 - 60 of 465 for the tag: Restitution.

March 6, 2013

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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February 28, 2013

The Court of the District of Columbia & the Chabad jews – a possible solution to the Parthenon Marbles case?

Posted at 2:29 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Paul Barford raises an interesting question on his blog, regarding a recent case in the USA. Essentially, the gist of the post relates back to an earlier story, about the fallout from a court case in the courts of the District of Columbia.

The case was brought by Chabad Jews, who have been campaigning for the return of two collections of books & manuscripts from Russia since the 1980s. They filed a lawsuit in 2004. In July 2010, the court ordered the Russia to return the library & archives to Chabad. At this point, Russia ignored the judgement. A month ago, on 16th January 2013, the same court sanctioned the Russian Government $50,00 per day for not complying with their ruling.

Since then, Russia’s foreign ministry has taken the retaliatory move, of recommending that two government agencies sue the US Library of Congress. If this case was to proceed, it would take place in a Russian court. It is taken against the Library of Congress, because through the inter-library loans programme (of which the LOC was the conduit), in 1994, seven books were lent to the Shabad group & never returned.

Russia has also taken the move of placing an embargo on any loans to museums in the USA, due to fears that artefacts will be seized.

Now, I’m not at all sure at this stage what the outcome of all this will be – but, the fact remains, that sanctions taken in a court outside the home country still have a potential to provoke a reaction.

Previously, I have been party to suggestions that a similar move could be taken by the Greek Government against the British Museum & the District of Columbia was mentioned as one possible jurisdiction under which this might take place. Now, I’m hoping that if it did take place, it would follower a calmer course than the current case, but it is indisputable, that the threat of legal action based on this precedent would be a strong incentive to negotiate.

Part of the problem with the Parthenon Marbles case, is that there has never been enough pressure placed against the British Museum / British Government. Essentially, they don’t feel that they currently have to respond to anything. If requests for negotiations are ever issued by Greece, these are closed out fairly quickly by laying down pre-conditions that Greece will never agree to – essentially asking them to give up something before the discussions can even start. Something needs to be done to show the British Museum that Greece means business – that the issue will not just go away.

Italy did not succeed in their requests against the US, until initiating legal action – although in many cases, the (serious) threat of legal action was eough to start off proper negotiations leading to the settlement i.e. it never actually went to court.

Clearly, in the case of the Chabad Jews (of which much more could be written), negotiating was off the agenda, as the case is being pursued to the bitter end, & looks like it could develop into a full blown diplomatic incident if one side doesn’t back down. Essentially (from the perspective of an outsider) they have taken a weapon & used it unwisely – and could end up blowing off their own feet in the process.

Notwithstanding the above point though, the fact remains – the legal route offers a path to negotiation & resolution of the case that has not yet been properly explored. Greece has tried the gentle discussions route for years & made little progress – so perhaps it is now time to take a different tack?

From:
The Art Newspaper

Russian agencies move to sue US Library of Congress
Threatened lawsuits could result in sanctions against the US, in retaliation for $50,000 per day penalties against Russia
By Laura Gilbert. Web only
Published online: 12 February 2013

Russia’s Foreign Ministry has recommended that two Russian government agencies sue the US Library of Congress, the news agency Pravda reported Friday. The move, seemingly in retaliation for US court-ordered sanctions against Russia costing $50,000 per day, is the latest twist in the ongoing dispute between the Brooklyn-based Jewish group Chabad and Russia.

Chabad has been trying to obtain two collections of Jewish books and manuscripts from Russia since the 1980s and filed a lawsuit in 2004. On 16 January, a Washington, DC District Court sanctioned the Russian government $50,000 per day because Russia had not followed the court’s July 2010 order to turn over the library and archive to Chabad. Shortly after the order, Russia initiated an embargo, which is still in effect, on lending art to American museums, claiming it feared Chabad would seize its art in order to enforce the judgment. American museums responded by refusing to loan art works to Russian institutions. Chabad, for its part, says it will not claim Russian art that is immune from seizure under US law but would enforce the judgment by seizing other Russian property in the US and through monetary sanctions.
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February 27, 2013

Turkey versus the Louvre – Ankara’s artefact restitution attempts continue

Posted at 1:49 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

More coverage of Turkey’s ongoing attempts to secure the restitution of disputed artefacts – many of which are housed in Paris’s Louvre museum.

From:
Le Monde (via Worldcrunch)

Published on 2013-02-18 15:56:34
Turkey vs. The Louvre: Ankara Renews Its Quest To Recover Antiquities
By Guillaume Perrier
LE MONDE/Worldcrunch

ISTANBUL – The treasure of Troy is back. The collection of golden jewelry from the ancient city, which had been stolen during the 19th century, was handed back to Turkey by the University of Pennsylvania last September.

The precious jewelry – known as the “Troy gold” – had been looted after the first excavations of Troy by a German archeologist in the 1870s. No one knows if Helen of Troy actually wore the jewels, but Turkey says it belongs to them. “It is only right that they be returned to where they were taken from,” declared Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertugrul Gunay.
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Not all types of restitution are equal – law enforcement & return of looted artefacts

Posted at 1:43 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

This piece by Kwame Opoku raises the interesting point, that the often gets lost when described in press articles – that there are two very different types of restitution. One type happens regularly, is legally enforced & has no real involvement of museums & galleries. The other type happens rarely (if at all) & is determined by the museums. But, in the media, these two very different types of cases often become one & the same, implying that there is a level of co-operation between countries over disputed artefacts that is not really there. Certainly, there is one layer that exists, but the layers beneath it are applied far more erratically.

From:
Ligali

Wed 13 February 2013
Opinion: What We Understand By “Restitution”
Kwame Opoku questions whether Nigeria’s approach to restitution of cultural artefacts is really working and offers a more progressive approach and honest definition.
Submitted By: Kwame Opoku

“Short of giving details of the anticipated repossession of Nigerian artefacts from France, Usman insisted that diplomacy remained the “best and only option for now and we would change our strategy if it’s not working.”

We are all pleased that the French, just like the US Americans are returning Nigerian looted artefacts that have been intercepted by the police or customs whilst in transit or at arrival at port of destination. This is the result of normal collaboration between customs/police institutions of France/USA and those of Nigeria. They are not the result of efforts by cultural institutions seeking the return of looted items, as far as we know. These are the results of investigation of criminal activities pursued by the customs/police institutions.
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February 26, 2013

The Koh-i-noor and promoting Britain’s trade ties with India

Posted at 2:18 pm in Similar cases

David Cameron’s trip to India was ostensibly to promote trade ties with Britain. Reading between the lines, this could be seen more as: We see lots of money sloshing around in India nowadays & we want to see if we can get a slice of it.

The questions about the Koh-i-noor diamond can hardly have been unexpected though. Afterall, It happened on his previous visit to the country & it is well known that India would like the gem to be returned. This makes it all the more surprising that his response sounded as though little real thought had gone into it.

If Cameron wanted to promote trade with India, surely a gesture of agreeing to return the Diamond could form a great catalyst for this – although I have a feeling that due to its position in the crown jewels, the Prime Minister would probably not have the authority to return it anyway. At the end of the day though, its removal from the Crown Jewels would not be a massive loss for Britain – financially, our situation would be the same with or without it.

Like many other restitution cases, the Koh-i-noor diamond is a complex one. This editorial piece raises some of the issues, but there are many others on both sides. The article highlights the fact that Pakistan has allowed much of its own heritage to crumble & deteriorate in recent years – therefore, does it deserve to have other items returned. I would counter this argument though – there are no laws currently that allow other countries to remove artefacts for their own safety (without permission from the original owners), so should the fact that the artefact is already out of the hands of the original owners be used to promote such a viewpoint, which would not normally be considered a legal possibility.

From:
Dawn

24 Feb 2013
Jewel in the crown

THOUGH David Cameron may have been keen to promote trade ties on his recent visit to India, the British prime minister turned down a long-standing demand to return the Koh-i-Noor diamond. Mr Cameron felt returning the dazzling gem would not be “sensible”. Questions over the Koh-i-Noor’s rightful ownership stem from the legacy of Britain’s colonial past. Originally mined in southern India centuries ago, the fabled stone changed hands several times, passing through the treasuries of the subcontinent’s Hindu, Muslim and Sikh kings before being presented to Queen Victoria by the colonial government of India. Considered a trophy from perhaps the most prized of Britain’s realms, the diamond is today part of the crown jewels firmly ensconced in the Tower of London. But Britain was not the only European colonial power to have appropriated the cultural property of others. More recently, there was widespread looting of Iraq’s historical treasures following the 2003 United States invasion; the Americans did little as gangs of looters made off with priceless treasures in the anarchy following Saddam Hussein’s fall.

It is valid to ask if historical artefacts whisked away from former colonies and now sitting in Western museums will receive proper care if returned to their countries of origin. We in Pakistan, for example, have allowed our heritage to crumble. Also, it is true that ancient collections in the Louvre or the British Museum have become part of world heritage. But how many of the world’s people can simply hop on a plane to enjoy the treasures taken from their countries? Ethically, there is weight in the argument that treasures looted in the age of empire be returned to their countries of origin to right historical wrongs and allow the people of former colonies to better appreciate their own heritage, while placing responsibility on those countries to preserve the artefacts.

Bronze age gold cape to return to Wales on loan

Posted at 1:59 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

More coverage of the return (on loan) of the Mold Cape, planned to take place later this year. This is not the first tie that the cape has been returned on loan – a previous exhibition of it in Wrexham took place in 2005.

From:
BBC News

23 February 2013 Last updated at 11:07
Mold gold cape to be displayed in Cardiff and Wrexham museums

A unique ceremonial Bronze Age gold cape which was discovered in Flintshire 180 years ago is to go on display in Cardiff and Wrexham this summer.

The Mold Gold Cape, thought to have been a woman’s, will be loaned first to the National Museum in Cardiff in July.
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