Showing 3 results for the tag: Samsat Stele.

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.

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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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.”

New York Times

April 11, 2012, 9:33 am
Treasure Hunters

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.

Today’s Zaman

Turkey requests return of Samsat Stele from Britain

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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