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The National Abu Dhabi Archives • Elginism

Showing 9 results for the tag: The National Abu Dhabi.

March 24, 2011

Reclaiming artefacts that have gone astray

Posted at 2:06 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Looting of artefacts, particularly during invasions & times of occupation, is something that has gone on for thousands of years. More recently though, some cases have gained a much higher profile & in some instances, this has led to the disputed artefacts being voluntarily returned.

From:
The National (UAE)

Homelands seek to reclaim art gone astray
Anna Blundy
Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011

According to the Book of Chronicles in the Bible’s Old Testament, “King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem and took away the treasures of the Lord’s temple and of the royal palace. He took everything, including the gold shields that Solomon had made.”

Seizing the artworks of a country or a people has always been used as a politically motivated cultural rape in times of conflict. Thus, artworks of disputed ownership have always been in the news. Just last week Germany again rejected Egypt’s demand to return its 3,350-year-old bust of Nefertiti, and there have been battles over ancient Etruscan artwork and Aztec artefacts, not to mention the Elgin Marbles, a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures, inscriptions and architectural artefacts that were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. They were brought to Britain by Lord Elgin in the early 1800s, remain in the British Museum and look likely to stay there.
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February 18, 2010

Cyrus Cylinder row stems from the British Museum’s broken promises

Posted at 2:06 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The current dispute over the Cyrus Cylinder stems largely from the fact that the loan of the artefact was promised by the museum, but has now been delayed so many times. The British Museum keeps trying to occupy some sort of moral high ground, despite the fact that they continue to drag their heels at every opportunity.

From:
The National (Abu Dhabi)

Political row over broken promises
Ed Lake
Last Updated: February 09. 2010 4:03PM UAE / February 9. 2010 12:03PM GMT

Given the steadily declining relations between the UK and Iran, with accusations of election-rigging and agent-provocateurism bouncing back and forth, it is remarkable that a collegial spirit has managed to endure between the Islamic republic and the British archaeological establishment for this long.

Still, whatever hopes there might have been for potsherd diplomacy would now seem to be dashed. Tehran has officially cut its ties with the British Museum. “We consider it a closed chapter,” Hassan Mohseni of Iran’s cultural heritage and tourism organisation told the press this week. Under the circumstances, it’s a suggestive figure of speech.
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February 7, 2010

British Museum battles with Iran over Cyrus Cylinder

Posted at 5:05 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The British Museum’s arguments with Iran continue, as they try to justify their position in continually delaying the proposed reciprocal loan of the Cyrus Cylinder. What is more interesting is that the British Museum clings on to these artefacts proclaiming how important they are, but then it is not included on the list of the 100 most important artefacts in the Museum.

From:
The Guardian

British Museum in battle with Iran over ancient ‘charter of rights’
Tehran alleges time-wasting as curator trawls through thousands of cuneiform clay fragments for Cyrus the Great’s legacy
John Wilson – The Observer, Sunday 24 January 2010

The discovery of fragments of ancient cuneiform tablets – hidden in a British Museum storeroom since 1881 – has sparked a diplomatic row between the UK and Iran. In dispute is a proposed loan of the Cyrus cylinder, one of the most important objects in the museum’s collection, and regarded by some historians as the world’s first human rights charter.

The Iranian government has threatened to “sever all cultural relations” with Britain unless the artefact is sent to Tehran immediately. Museum director Neil MacGregor has been accused by an Iranian vice-president of “wasting time” and “making excuses” not to make the loan of the 2,500-year-old clay object, as was agreed last year.
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January 27, 2010

Iran plans to sever cultural links with UK over Cyrus Cylinder

Posted at 2:03 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Iran’s renewed irritation with the UK over the successive delays to the proposed loan of the Cyrus Cylinder is showing no sign of abating, as they continue to press ahead with plans to cease cooperation on other cultural issues. It is worth noting again, that Iran in the past has cooperated extensively with the British Museum – not least in the loan of artefacts to them for their recent Shah Abbas exhibition.

From:
Daily Telegraph

Iran threatens to sever links with UK in row over Cyrus Cylinder
By Heidi Blake
Published: 4:15PM GMT 21 Jan 2010

Iran has threatened to cut cultural ties with the UK after the British Museum refused to hand over a 23cm clay cylinder inscribed by Cyrus the Great, the Persian king.

The museum had promised to lend Iran the cylinder, thought to be inscribed with the first declaration of human rights, after borrowing several key works form Iranian museums for its exhibition on Shah Abbas, the Iranian emperor, last year.
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December 26, 2009

Is it time to relinquish the Rosetta Stone?

Posted at 9:01 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The British Museum may want to hang onto the Rosetta Stone, but many people feel that now is the time to return it to Egypt.

From:
The Independent

Letters: The Rosetta Stone
It’s time to gracefully relinquish the Rosetta Stone
Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Rosetta Stone and Elgin Marbles are priceless, culturally significant antiquities brought to Britain under arrangements that were perfectly legal at the time, and so Egypt and Greece have no claim that could succeed in any court (The Big Question, 9 December).

In the past, that has been considered sufficient justification by the British Museum for it to reject any requests for their return. When you add the facts that Egyptian museums have been less secure, and that had the marbles remained in position on the Parthenon they would have decomposed in the atmospheric pollution so as no longer to be recognisable, then most rational people would have supported that position.
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October 26, 2009

Iran says that British Museum broke artefact promise

Posted at 1:58 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Iran is continuing in their attempts to secure a loan of the Cyrus Cylinder – something that was previously planned, but has subsequently postponed. They claim that the British Museum broke previous agreements & that as a result they will be forced to cease cooperation with the institution.

From:
Reuters

Iran says British Museum broke pledge on artifact
Mon Oct 12, 2009 2:25pm EDT

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran accused the British Museum on Monday of breaking a promise to lend it an artifact relating to Cyrus of Persia’s conquest of Babylon in the 6th century BC.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi warned of wider harm to archaeological cooperation between London and Tehran if the British Museum did not allow public display of the so-called Cyrus Cylinder in Iran.
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June 7, 2009

The looting of Iraq

Posted at 9:18 pm in Similar cases

The looting of the Iraq Museum was anticipated by many – yet the people who were in charge of the country seemed wholly unprepared for dealing with the situation.

From:
The National (Abu Dhabi)

Were there that many vases?
Last Updated: June 04. 2009 11:37AM UAE / June 4. 2009 7:37AM GMT

The remarkable fact about the looting of the Iraq Museum, Hugh Eakin writes, is not how little it was anticipated – but how much it was forewarned.

The Rape of Mesopotamia: Behind the Looting of the Iraq Museum
Lawrence Rothfield
University of Chicago Press
Dh105

In February, 2003, about a month before the invasion of Iraq, a former American diplomat quietly flew to Baghdad to meet with Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein’s deputy prime minister. A Middle East hand who served in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, William R Polk was on an improbable mission: he was hoping to persuade the Baathist regime to remove the unparalleled collections of Baghdad’s Iraq Museum to Jordan for safekeeping. This was no mere whim. The heads of the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, the Oriental Institute of Chicago and the American Museum of Natural History in New York were to co-sponsor the project; the Jordanians told Polk they were prepared to give the green light, pending Baghdad’s consent. The well-connected Polk had even secured private funding to cover the cost of packing and shipping the collection to Amman. With a US invasion now almost certain, however, the Iraqis had other things to worry about. The plan went nowhere.
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May 31, 2009

The reson for building the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 7:37 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

The New Acropolis Museum serves many purposes, not least the exhibition of the countless artefacts that would not possibly fit in the previous building on the monument. The main underlying reason for its existence is clear to all observers though – to secure the return of the Elgin Marbles.

From:
The National (Abu Dhabi)

Bringing it all back?
Richard Holledge
Last Updated: May 31. 2009 7:03PM UAE / May 31. 2009 3:03PM GMT

The message is clear. The publicity may well be about the daring architecture designed to house 4,000 artefacts from Greece’s glorious past but the opening of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens next month is about the Elgin Marbles. It’s about the long, unrelenting campaign by Greece to have them returned by the British Museum.

Stand in the top floor of the new building, a glass-fronted lozenge skewed out of kilter with the exhibition space below and the visitor stands face to face with the Parthenon 300 metres away. In its vast hall will be a frieze which once graced the Acropolis, built in 479BC, a symbol of Athens at the zenith of its powers. About half of the carvings are in the mellow tones of weathered marble which have survived in Athens and the others – copies of those in London – are in casts of glaring white. In the British Museum the frieze looks inward from its gallery walls. In Athens it looks out at the visitors and over their shoulder to the Acropolis. The display says: the Marbles belong here. In this museum. In Athens.
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February 13, 2009

Did the Germans cheat to get hold of the Nefertiti bust?

Posted at 7:39 pm in Similar cases

New research suggests that the archaeologists who took the bust of Nefertiti from Egypt deliberately misled officials to allow them to do so – suggesting that they felt that they would have been stopped had they told the truth at that stage. This can only add weight to Egypt’s argument for the return of the sculpture.

From:
The National (Abu Dhabi)

Germans ‘cheated’ to get Nefertiti
David Crossland, Foreign Correspondent
Last Updated: February 13. 2009 1:12AM UAE / February 12. 2009 9:12PM GMT

The bust of ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti has been one of Germany’s most treasured cultural possessions since German archaeologists discovered the exquisitely crafted 3,350-year-old artwork in the sands of Egypt almost a century ago.

Renowned for its timeless beauty, the sculpture attracts more than half a million visitors a year to the Berlin museum where it is on display, and it has long been a source of friction between Germany and Egypt, which has been demanding its return for decades.
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