Missing from the Temple of Apollo at Bassae are reliefs removed by Charles Robert Cockerell in 1812 and acquired by British Museum
Friday, April 14, 2017
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Geoffrey Robertson ('Let’s do a Brexit deal with the Parthenon marbles' Guardian Tuesday 4 April 2017) suggests that gestures involving the enhancement of Europe’s cultural heritage may have a role to play in ensuring a modicum of success in Brexit negotiations:
The most important symbols of Europe’s cultural heritage are the Parthenon marbles. Half of them are in the new Acropolis Museum, while the other half, ripped off the Parthenon by a Scottish diplomat, sit in a British Museum gallery [...] There is no more significant cultural heritage than the Parthenon marbles, so the negotiators on both sides are bound to take their reunification into account. They are, of course, priceless, and a UK offer to return them should be accepted in return for major concessions [...] a willingness to surrender Elgin’s ill-gotten gains will win goodwill as well as concessions. Britain is leaving Europe, so it should leave Europe with its marbles.
Monday, April 3, 2017
Muhammad Majid Bashir, 'The dancing girl in distress' Pakistan Today, January 29, 2017
The dancing girl, excavated in the Hargreaves area of Mohenjo Daro in 1926 by Ernest Mackay, is currently displayed at National Museum in New Delhi. Pakistan’s demand for its return bases itself on the belief that it was taken from Pakistan, 60 years ago, on the request of the National Arts Council in Delhi, for an exhibition from the Lahore Museum, but was never returned. The statue forms an integral part of Pakistan’s national heritage as a prehistoric cultural object, and its return to Pakistan is vital. [...] Due to the lack of certainty as to the events and circumstances that led to the dancing girl’s situation in India; an appeal to the government should be made to request UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in case of Illicit Appropriation to take into consideration this matter for the unharmed and peaceful return of the dancing girl to its home.Another version of events, however, "suggests the statue was taken to Delhi before Partition by Mortimer Wheeler" (halid, Haroon (26 October 2016). "Should Pakistan get the dancing girl from Mohenjo-Daro back?". Huffington Post; Mansoor, Hasan (11 October 2016). "Pakistan needs to do homework for Dancing Girl's return". Dawn Oct 11, 2016).
Friday, December 30, 2016
Edgar Asher, Cairo Geniza at Cambridge University' Ashernet Dec 29, 2016
An exhibition at Cambridge University featuring a fraction of ancient Jewish manuscripts that are part of the unique collection known as the Cairo Geniza will open in April, 2017. Titled “Discarded History,” the exhibit displays a small percentage of 300,000 manuscripts originally found in the geniza, or storeroom, of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Fustat. Some documents date back over 1,000 years.[...] Schechter received permission to examine the contents of the geniza and to take whatever he liked. As he later said, “I liked it all.” Schechter subsequently removed most of the manuscripts from the Ben Ezra Synagogue geniza and brought them back to Cambridge. As he began to evaluate hundreds of items, he realized that this collection of documents was an unprecedented window on Jewish life.[...] The religious and civil documents discovered in the Cairo Geniza provide scholars with copious pieces of information that, when they are all itemized and collated, will be a window on Jewish secular and religious life over the past 10 centuries.The collection was taken in 1896, in 2016 its full cataloguing is still being referred to in the future tense. Maybe instead of throwing resources at displaying the 'trophies', the institution housing them should pull their finger out and get them properly analysed at last. Too many institutions are sitting on material they have taken for themselves but have not the resources to process properlyn in good time.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Pretty scathing review of Tiffany Jenkins, Keeping Their Marbles: How the Treasures of the Past Ended Up in Museums…and Why They Should Stay There (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. Pp. ix, 369. ISBN 9780199657599) by Johanna Hanink, Brown University in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2016.12.06.
Despite the sensationalistic claims made in the introduction and in the splashy marketing material, Keeping Their Marbles contributes almost nothing to (and arguably even sets back) the broader, evolving, and ever more sophisticated conversation about critical heritage studies, which should be a matter of concern to everyone who reads BMCR. The book is a diatribe—and not a very well-researched, well-documented, or well-written one—that has been dressed, advertised, and reviewed as an authoritative monograph issued by one of our field’s flagship presses.Th review itself is a nicely-written piece. I have not read the book.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Give us back the Venus de Milo, Greeks tell Louvre' the Times, November 30 2016).OK, so why is it?
Vignette: From Milos
Friday, October 28, 2016
|The piece itself, |
one of a pair
A Benin bronze sold off by the British Museum for around £200 in the 1950s came back on the market at Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Falls Church, Virginia on 1 October [...] but failed to find a buyer. The 16th-century plaque [...] was among 500 objects offered from the collection of the New York-based African-American artist, collector, dealer and musician Merton Simpson, who died three years ago. [...] the British Museum acquired 203 bronzes [...] In 1950, the museum’s keeper of ethnography, Hermann Braunholtz, suggested to the trustees that 30 plaques were “duplicate specimens” and that 10 should be sold to Nigeria for a planned museum in Lagos. Later that year, four further plaques were sold to the London dealer Sydney Burney for a total of £876; three others went in 1952 to the New York dealer John Klejman for £450 in a exchange deal. The British Museum would later much regret these sell-offs. In 2002, Nigel Barley, the museum’s Africa curator, described them as “a curse”, since the plaques had been designed to be displayed as pairs.They SOLD the plaques to Nigeria? How utterly crass.Now, what was that we were hearing about the 'legal impediments' to deaccessing the Parthenon marbles from the national collection? Is it the case that as far as Bloomsbury Trustees are concerned they only apply to the sparkling white marbles of the supreme White European civilizations, but not the 'savage art' of the brown-skinned folk?
Now, what is Quinn's going to do with the unsold Benin bronze? The decent thing?