Showing results 13 - 24 of 29 for the month of February, 2009.

February 22, 2009

The British Museum as a British Institution

Posted at 12:29 pm in British Museum, Elgin Marbles, Similar cases

Following Neil MacGregor’s lecture on the 250th anniversary of the founding of the British Museum, Kwame Opoku responds to the assertions that it is a museum for All Humanity.


Datum: 22.02.09 22:44
Kategorie: Kultur-Kunst
omments on a lecture by Neil Macgregor, British Museum Director

When I listened to the recent lecture by Neil MacGregor, Director, British Museum on the 250th anniversary of the museum, I was, at least at the beginning, very relieved. (1) I thought, finally we have the director of the museum, an avid apostle of the “universal museum”, who was recently made a saint by the British press (2), admitting openly in the museum, (or is it now a temple?) that his institution is British and actually the first important institution to have in its title, the word “British”. This came in a time British workers were also asserting their nationalism. The history of the British Museum as traced by the director clearly indicated that the museum was established by a British Parliamentary Act for the British people. I heard in the lecture phrases such as

“centrally and quintessentially British”, “first public institution to be called British”, “oldest British organization” and all this was said to be “true today”.
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Talkin in Calcutta on the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 12:23 pm in Elgin Marbles

Coverage of a talk given in Calcutta on the impact of the Parthenon Sculptures on romantic literature.

The Telegraph (Calcutta, India)

Sunday , February 22 , 2009
Romantic men
City Lights

The 16th annual seminar of the Centre for Studies in Romantic Literature on February 5 started on an amusing note.

At the end of the inaugural lecture by Professor Richard Cronin of the University of Glasgow, chairperson Bharati Roy, former pro-vice chancellor of Calcutta University, looked perplexed. “Where is the masculinity in the paper?” she asked, glancing pointedly at the printed programme which announced “Literature and Masculinity after Waterloo” as the subject.
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February 21, 2009

Museum diplomacy?

Posted at 12:15 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

The British Museum is fond of terms such as Cultural Diplomacy as a way of describing some of their current initiatives, but as I have commented before, this only ever seems to occur when it is on their terms & they are in a position to call the shots.

In the case of the Shah ‘Abbas exhibition, Cultural Diplomacy seems to take the form of leveraging your looting – lending back disputed artefacts in exchange for borrowing further artefacts.


The Art of Museum Diplomacy
By WILLIAM LEE ADAMS Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009

When western diplomats seek concessions from Iran, they typically dish out tough rhetoric and threaten sanctions. Neil MacGregor, the cherub-faced director of the British Museum, uses a more refined arsenal: cultural relics and priceless artifacts. In January, MacGregor traveled to Tehran to finalize the loan of treasures from eight of Iran’s best museums. In exchange, he promised to loan the National Museum of Iran the Cyrus Cylinder, a 2,500-year-old clay cylinder inscribed with decrees from the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great. Following a request by the Iranian Vice President’s office, he also vowed to raise international awareness of damage done to archaeological sites in Gaza during Israel’s recent military operation. The lofty maneuvering paid off: three weeks later, dozens of crates containing Persian rugs and 17th century mosque ornaments were winging their way to London.
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Yves Saint Lauren, China & the son of Lord Elgin

Posted at 12:09 pm in Similar cases

Despite attempts by China to block the sale of artefacts looted from Beijing & now in the collection of the late Yves Saint Lauren, the sale is still due to proceed.

A new & bizarre twist in the story is added by the seller’s offer to trade the artefacts in exchange for recognising human rights within China.

Christian Science Monitor

China protests Christie’s auction in Paris of relics
Legal efforts to retrieve two bronzes looted by Western troops in 1860 may fail. Another option: let wealthy donors buy them back.
By Peter Ford | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the February 20, 2009 edition

Beijing – A rat and a rabbit, emerging from a century and a half of peaceful seclusion, have found themselves in the eye of an international storm about their future, and the proper fate of looted artworks.

Once upon a time, the two animal heads, cast in bronze, adorned a water clock fountain in the Chinese emperor’s Summer Palace here. They were plundered when British and French troops ransacked and burned the palace buildings in 1860.
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February 17, 2009

Brighton’s reluctance to return Aboriginal Skull

Posted at 12:02 pm in Similar cases

Continuing coverage of the fact that Brighton’s Booth Museum of Natural History have decided not to return an artefact that is made from human remains. The Australian government is now intervening in the issue, in the hope of finding a way of settling the issue.

Canberra Times

British council reluctant to release Aboriginal skull
17/02/2009 10:39:00 AM

The Australian government has intervened in a bid to get an Aboriginal skull returned to Australia and avoid a potential diplomatic row.

Museum bosses in England want to keep the skull, which has been turned into a water carrier, because it is extremely rare.
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February 14, 2009

Arguments for & against the return of the Elgin Marbles

Posted at 6:03 pm in Elgin Marbles

A summary of the key arguments / points on both sides of the Parthenon Marbles debate.

The First Post

Should Britain return the Elgin Marbles?


Cultural treasures from ancient civilisations belong in the places they come from. Museums in Sweden, Germany, America and the Vatican have already acknowledged this and returned items taken from the Acropolis. The British museum should follow suit and put an end to more than two centuries of bad feeling in Greece.
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Opening plans for the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 5:57 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

A couple more articles on the plans for the formal inauguration of the New Acropolis Museum.

Kathimerini (English Edition)

Saturday February 14, 2009 – Archive
Grand opening in June

Much-awaited launch of New Acropolis Museum finally to go ahead, minister says

The long-awaited opening of Athens’s New Acropolis Museum, a controversial glass-and-concrete construction that has been designed to accommodate the missing Parthenon Marbles, is to take place on June 20, the culture minister revealed yesterday.
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June opening date set for the New Acropolis Museum

Posted at 5:50 pm in Elgin Marbles, New Acropolis Museum

More information on the plans for the opening of the New Acropolis Museum.

Due to the global financial crisis, a decision has been taken to reduce the scale of the opening event. Notice of the cancellation of the original tender to organise the opening is available here (in Greek)

Athens News Agency

Karamanlis confers with Culture Minister

Prime minister Costas Karamanlis met Friday with culture minister Antonis Samaras, in their first meeting since the latter’s assumption of the ministry helm after the January 7, government reshuffle.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Samaras said he had a “substantive and fruitful” discussion with the prime miniser.
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February 13, 2009

New Acropolis Museum opening date

Posted at 7:52 pm in Elgin Marbles, Events, New Acropolis Museum

Finally after many years of speculation, disputes & delays, an official date has been given for the opening of the New Acropolis Museum. Parts of the building have been open for some time, but no public access has not yet been allowed to any of the museum’s main permanent exhibition spaces. The date set is 20th June 2009.

International Herald Tribune

Greece to open new Acropolis museum in June
The Associated Press
Published: February 13, 2009

ATHENS, Greece: Greek officials say a new museum showcasing masterpieces from the Acropolis will be inaugurated this summer after long delays.

Culture Minister Antonis Samaras said Friday the opening ceremony will be on June 20. Initially, Greece had planned to open the museum ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics.
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More on the Yves Saint Lauren artefact sale

Posted at 7:46 pm in Similar cases

Further coverage of the planned sale of disputed Chinese artefacts from the collection of Yves Saint Lauren.

The Scotsman

Friday, 13th February 2009
China and France in tug-of-war over Yves St Laurent treasures
By Ethan McNern

CHINA has demanded the return of looted imperial bronzes due to be auctioned in Paris as part of the estate of the late French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.
The sculptures of a rat’s head and a rabbit’s head disappeared in 1860, when French and British forces looted and then burned the former summer palace on the outskirts of Beijing at the end of the second Opium War.

Jiang Yu, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said yesterday that the pieces had been “stolen and taken away by intruders,” and “should be returned to China”.
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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.

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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February 10, 2009

UK museum wants to retain Aboriginal human remains

Posted at 7:29 pm in Similar cases

More coverage on the decision by Brighton’s Booth Museum of Natural History against returning an Aboriginal artefact that involves human remains. It is important to recall, that whilst the Human Tissue Act allows Museums to return artefacts involving human remains where they would otherwise not be allowed to, there is nothing in the act that says they have to return such pieces. On the other hand, in most cases, artefacts have eventually been returned, so any institution that is not doing so is making a concious decision to go against what has become the currently accepted practise.

Sydney Morning Herald

UK museum wants to keep Aboriginal relic
February 11, 2009 – 2:29PM

A rare Aboriginal relic is expected to stay in an English museum despite fears it could spark an Australian backlash.

Brighton and Hove City Council plans to keep a water carrier made from a human skull that has been stored in a museum in Brighton, a coastal city south of London, since 1925.
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