Showing results 25 - 36 of 46 for the tag: Turkey.

May 18, 2012

Turkey gets tough on disputed cultural treasures in foreign museums

Posted at 7:54 am in British Museum, Similar cases

Following the demise of Zahi Hawass’s restitution campaigns after the Arab Spring & the fall of Mubarak in Egypt, Turkey has recently made restitution requests for a large number of artefacts located in foreign museums around the world. Apparently, this is just the tip of the iceberg though – there are many more items on their list of requests than have been revealed so far.

Quite why they are aspiring to – or even using the term Encyclopaedic Museum (also known as a Universal Museum) is unclear though – as this is the justification regularly put forward for retention of the artefacts that they want returned by the museums that currently hold them, I’d have thought that they would be desperate to steer as far away from that term as possible.

From:
The Economist

Turkey’s cultural ambitions
Of marbles and men
Turkey gets tough with foreign museums and launches a new culture war
May 19th 2012

IN THE spring of 1887 a Lebanese villager named Mohammed Sherif discovered a well near Sidon that led to two underground chambers. These turned out to be a royal tomb containing 18 magnificent marble sarcophagi dating back to the fifth century BC. The Ottoman sultan, Abdul Hamid II, ordered the sarcophagi exhumed, placed on rails and carried down to the Mediterranean coast, where they were sent by ship to Istanbul. The largest sarcophagus was believed to contain the remains of Alexander the Great. The coffin is not Turkish and Sidon is now in Lebanon, but the sarcophagus is regarded as Istanbul’s grandest treasure, as important to the archaeology museum there as the “Mona Lisa” is to the Louvre.

The mildly Islamist government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, led by the Justice and Development (AK) party, likes to think of itself as the heir of the Ottoman sultans. The Turkish authorities have recently launched a wave of cultural expansionism, building new museums, repairing Ottoman remains, licensing fresh archaeological excavations and spending more on the arts. A grand museum in the capital, Ankara, is due to open in time for the centenary of the Turkish republic in 2023. “It will be the biggest museum in Turkey, one of the largest in Europe; an encyclopedic museum like the Metropolitan or the British Museum (BM),” boasts an aide to Ertugrul Gunay, the culture and tourism minister. “It’s his baby, his most precious project.”
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May 14, 2012

Is the “Universal Museum” the museum concept of the future?

Posted at 12:52 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

A lot of effort has been expended in recent years in arguments for & against the idea of the Universal Museum. The fact remains though, that the whole concept only seems to have existed within the last ten years. Certainly, there are no mentions of the phrase in this context, prior to Neil MacGregor becoming director of the British Museum.

Surely, if it was a valid approach in the first place, more would have been heard of it prior to this point?

The fact is, that Universal Museums are self appointed. No other countries have asked them to look after their cultural treasures – and then to refuse to return the later. As such, they have no moral right to hang on to the huge numbers of items that were acquired in very dubious circumstances, carefully omitted from the labels on the artefacts today.

From:
The National

Will the museum of the future be universal or defined by its borders?
Kanishk Tharoor
May 12, 2012

When I was a 10-year-old tourist visiting London’s museums, I had a nationalist episode. It began, somewhat narcissistically, with the coins of Kanishka, the ancient king after whom I and all the world’s Kanishks are named. Something stirred in me. “Why are they kept here and not in India?” I asked my mother (never mind that the historical Kanishka hardly ever set foot in what is now India). I marvelled at the curving sword of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, austere and proud, reduced to forlorn captivity in the display case. “Why is it here?” I trembled. And then I found Tipu Sultan’s tiger, a fierce mechanical beast engineered to ravage a wooden British soldier. That was the final straw. The very symbol of Indian resistance to British conquest now lay caged in London as an eternal reminder of our defeat. Quaking with rage, I approached the nearest security guard. “Give it back!” I yelled. “Give it back!” He refused to oblige me.

But my childish protests augured the changing spirit of the times. A rash of similar demands – more sophisticated and reasoned than my own – prompted a group of agitated museum directors to issue a defensive proclamation in late 2002. Dubbed the “Declaration on the Importance and Value of Universal Museums”, it united venerable institutions in cities across Europe and North America, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the Louvre in Paris to the Hermitage in St Petersburg. The directors responded to what they perceived as a fundamental threat to the existence of their museums: the righteous calls and legal attempts to “repatriate” artefacts.
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April 23, 2012

Turkey plans to block loans to British Museum over artefact dispute

Posted at 8:14 am in British Museum, Similar cases

Turkey is taking a similar line to the one taken in the past by Egypt & Iran, by withdrawing co-operation, in an attempt to secure the return of disputed artefacts.

Their plans to follow this approach are not entirely surprising, as in both of the previous cases mentioned above, it was successful in speeding up negotiations or getting the museum in question to reconsider their stance on the issue.

From:
Hurriyet

Turkey refuses to lend artifacts to British Museum exhibition
March/05/2012
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

According to Britain-based The Art Newspaper, Turkey is refusing to lend artifacts to leading British and American museums until the issue of disputed antiquities is resolved.

The ban means Turkey will not lend artifacts to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and London’s British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), reported The Art Newspaper.
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April 12, 2012

Turkey’s requests for the Samsat Stele to be returned – Cultural nationalism?

Posted at 1:08 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Following their requests for the return of the Samsat Stele, Turkey is blocking the planned loan of an artefact to the UK. The author of this article, feels that they should be focussing first on protecting the heritage that they already have in their country, before trying to retrieve items such as this. I still can’t understand though, why when we want an artefact to stay in the UK, this is completely acceptable, but when someone else asks for their (in many cases stolen) artefact to be returned, it is decried as “cultural nationalism.”

From:
New York Times

April 11, 2012, 9:33 am
Treasure Hunters
By ANDREW FINKEL

ISTANBUL — “Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam,” the British Museum’s recreation of Islam’s holy pilgrimage, has attracted much praise and a dash of controversy, as Huma Yusuf recently wrote on Latitude. Meanwhile, another interesting story related to the exhibit has percolated down to Turkey, the successor state to the empire that ruled over Mecca and Medina for centuries and once controlled the major pilgrimage routes.

Turkey was founded in the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, and its great museums – the Topkapi Palace and the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum – hold many of the important historical artifacts associated with the Hajj.
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April 10, 2012

Turkey asks British Museum to return the Samsat Stele

Posted at 12:54 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

As part of their ongoing campaign for the restitution of looted artefacts, Turkey has written to the British Museum asking for the return of the Samsat Stele, a stone tablet that is over two thousand years old.

From:
Today’s Zaman

Turkey requests return of Samsat Stele from Britain
9 April 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL

The Turkish government has requested from Britain the return of a stone tablet dating back to the first century.

The Samsat Stele, which is currently held at the British Museum, is a stone tablet dating back to the first century B.C. portraying Commagenian King Antiochos I Epiphanes greeting Greek god Zeus’s son Herakles. The hole in the center of the Samat Stele, which is made of basalt, reflects its later use as an oil press.
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April 3, 2012

Turkey’s requests for the return of looted artefacts in US museums

Posted at 12:57 pm in Similar cases

As well as eighteen artefacts in the Metropolitan Museum, Turkey is requesting the return of many other disputed artefacts in other museums across the USA.

From:
Los Angeles Times

Turkey asks U.S. museums for return of antiquities
By Jason Felch, Los Angeles Times
March 30, 2012, 8:48 p.m.

The government of Turkey is asking American museums to return dozens of artifacts that were allegedly looted from the country’s archaeological sites, opening a new front in the search for antiquities smuggled out of their original countries through an illicit trade.

The J. Paul Getty Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Cleveland Museum of Art and Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection are among the institutions that the Turkish government has contacted, officials say.
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March 26, 2012

The evolving moral and political climate for art museums

Posted at 8:27 am in Similar cases

Cleveland museum’s recent purchase of the Apollo Sauroktonos has been criticised by many archaeologists, because of the uncertain provenance of the work. The Museum has however, agreed to work with Italy to further research the sculpture.

From:
Cleveland.com

Conference at the American Academy in Rome illuminated the changing climate for Cleveland Museum of Art and other institutions that collect antiquities
Published: Saturday, December 03, 2011, 12:30 PM

Rome — The images of ancient Roman mosaics found and preserved recently in south-central Turkey were stunning.

Unfortunately, they flashed across the screen in a darkened auditorium at the American Academy in Rome too quickly. One had the impulse to shout at the lecturer, “Slow down!”

But the two-day symposium last month on “Saving Cultural Heritage in Crisis Areas” was running late, and Italian archaeologist Roberto Nardi had a lot of ground to cover in his dramatic tale of rescuing the mosaics from the rising waters of a lake created by the Birecik hydroelectric dam along the Euphrates River.
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March 24, 2012

Why do so many looted artefacts end up in museums

Posted at 11:46 am in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

For some artefacts, museums hold onto the excuse that at the time, it was accepted practice. But for many more recent artefacts that are looted, that excuse holds no water. Who should be blamed for this though – the dealers or the collectors? Are too many people / institutions willing to accept items with fairly questionable provenances that if investigated properly would clearly not be valid?

From:
Financial Times

December 2, 2011 12:02 am
Lost treasures
By Feargus O’Sullivan

In March this year, a statue of Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty, left the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, its home since 1988, to return to the Sicilian town of Aidone, where it was discovered.

Six months later, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts returned the Weary Herakles to Turkey, so the torso of the mythological Greek hero could be reunited with the legs and pelvis of a statue discovered near Antalya in the early 1980s.
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March 21, 2012

Turkey requests return of eighteen artefacts from New York’s Metropolitan Museum

Posted at 5:45 pm in Similar cases

The return of the Euphronius Krater to Italy a few years ago appears to have been far from the end to the Met’s problems over looted artefacts in their collection.

Further information on this story is available here and a more detailed description of the artefacts involved including photos is here.

From:
Artinfo

More Antiquities Woes for U.S. Museums Loom, As Turkey Demands 18 Artifacts From the Metropolitan Museum
by Benjamin Sutton
Published: March 20, 2012

Former Metropolitan director Phillipe de Montebello famously faced one of the greatest challenges of his career over looted Greek antiquities in the museum’s collection, ultimately diffusing it with his ingenious “returns-for-loans” strategy. Now, new director Thomas Campbell faces a fresh battle over dodgy antiquities, this time from Turkey. And it’s heating up.

At the beginning of the month the Turkish government made aggressive moves to assert its claims on supposedly looted objects, banning its own institutions from loaning antiquities to museums including the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Met, until artifacts held in those museums’ collections were returned. While the Art Newspaper reported that 12 unidentified items at the Metropolitan were in dispute, the blog Chasing Aphrodite is now claiming that the number has escalated to 18, and has even offered a specific list of the contested artifacts.
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March 19, 2012

Weary Herakles bust to be returned by Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to Turkey

Posted at 6:31 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the return of the Weary Heracles from the USA to Turkey.

From:
BBC News

22 July 2011 Last updated at 16:35
Weary Herakles bust to be returned by US to Turkey

The top half of the Weary Herakles statue, which was bought by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1982, is to be returned to its native Turkey.

After an ongoing dispute, the MFA will reunite the bust with its lower half at the Antalya Museum later this year.
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Turkey wants 1700 year old marble head returned from London’s V&A museum

Posted at 1:45 pm in Similar cases

Turkey has asked London’s Victoria & Albert Museum to return a marble carving of a child’s head. The legality of the head’s removal from Turkey is unclear. In recent years, Turkey has been making many similar efforts to request the return of certain specific artefacts.

From:
Independent

Turkey demands return of its ‘Elgin marble’
V&A holds carved head removed from sarcophagus by Britain’s consul-general in 1882
By Rob Sharp, Arts Correspondent
Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Turkey is demanding the return of an ancient marble head, now languishing in the stores of a London museum, which was taken from Anatolia more than a century ago.

The Turkish culture ministry has asked the Victoria and Albert Museum to return a 1,700-year-old life-sized marble carving of a child’s head, described as bearing a likeness to Eros, the Greek god of love.
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February 17, 2012

The top five most disputed artefacts

Posted at 2:10 pm in Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

A (somewhat subjective, but still interesting) list in the New York Times of the most disputed antiquities, following the return of some Egyptian Artefacts from the Metropolitan Museum.

From:
Gadling

The world’s most disputed antiquities: a top 5 list
by Melanie Renzulli on Aug 3rd 2011 at 1:00PM

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art announced Tuesday that it would return 19 Egyptian antiquities that have lived at the museum for most of the last century. These artifacts, excavated from the 14th century B.C. tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (King Tut), include a sphinx bracelet, a small bronze dog, and a broad collar with beads, among other bits and pieces. Zahi Hawass, the former Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, argued for the artifacts’ return in November 2010, claiming that the artifacts had been removed from the tomb illegally in the 1920s. But, the instability in Egypt during and following that country’s revolution this year has delayed the repatriation of King Tut’s belongings.

One of the biggest arguments in the art world is the repatriation of objects, particularly antiquities. On one side of the debate are art scholars who feel that ancient objects should remain in the care of their current (usually Western) museums or locations. The other side argues that antiquities should be returned to the countries from which they were removed because they were taken during times of war and colonization or were stolen and sold through the highly lucrative art black market.
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