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SpringHeeledJack
16th Nov 2018, 14:59
https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/easter-island-demands-british-museum-return-moai-statue-taken-150-years-ago/ar-BBPMiki?li=BBoPWjQ&ocid=mailsignout (https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/easter-island-demands-british-museum-return-moai-statue-taken-150-years-ago/ar-BBPMiki?li=BBoPWjQ&ocid=mailsignout)

In basic terms it only seems like the right thing to do, give 'it' back to those from whence it came.

Then I thought, "At which point is it ok to say NO! Sod Off!" ? Using the British Museum as an example, there are several contentious artefacts that are being demanded back by the country that they were taken/rescued/pillaged from hundreds of years ago. Surely, if they were the spoils of war, then so be it, or the territory was a part of the then empire, so all 'belonged' to the Crown. Perhaps they were given as a peace token, or a take this and leave us alone offering. In many cases the Victorians et al preserved many ancient artefacts, which would have been otherwise left to succumb to the ravages many ? At what point does possession of something, later disputed, have any legal purchase ?

KelvinD
16th Nov 2018, 15:21
"Possession is nine points of the law" isn't it? Bugger 'em!

ShotOne
16th Nov 2018, 15:33
Elgin marbles being a good example. There probably wouldn’t be much left of them if Lord Elgin had left them in Greece.

VP959
16th Nov 2018, 15:41
There's a good argument for preserving precious artefacts in a safe haven, if there is a risk that they might be destroyed if they stay where they are. Examples that spring to mind recently are IS destroying ancient artefacts, and the looting of museums in Egypt a few years ago, to name but two.

Quite how you balance the right of ownership by the culture from which artefacts came (assuming that culture still exists today) against the desire to both protect historical material and make it available for study by as wide a global audience as possible, for the benefit of mankind as a whole, is a conundrum that I don't think there's ever a straightforward answer to.

G-CPTN
16th Nov 2018, 16:03
What right does the westernized world have to seek to 'protect' artifacts from the indigenous population?

VP959
16th Nov 2018, 16:08
What right does the westernized world have to seek to 'protect' artifacts from the indigenous population?

None. Is it just the "Westernised World" though?

The issue transcends national boundaries and politics, as at the heart of it is the need to preserve and protect historically important material for future generations.

G-CPTN
16th Nov 2018, 16:26
I used the term 'westernised world' as a generalisation.

I can see the moral justification.

G-CPTN
16th Nov 2018, 16:32
at the heart of it is the need to preserve and protect historically important material for future generations.
There was a significant period of time when Roman structures were looted for the stone.
My previous house was built from materials 'rescued' from the Roman site not a quarter mile away - easier than quarrying, shaping and carting fresh stone.
Likewise along the line of Hadrian's Wall there are farmhouses built from 'local' materials.
Indeed, several local churches have Roman features incorporated.

Town centres were purged of their historic houses (claimed as 'slum clearance') in favour of (now) long gone modern structures.

BehindBlueEyes
16th Nov 2018, 17:16
Recall seeing a documentary about Cairo museum several years ago. There was a film clip of a clearly unskilled employee repairing the peeling paint on a wooden bust of a pharaoh. She was using a tube of some household glue that was being clearly overused as it was oozing in great blobs down the face of the statue and she had fragments of 3000 year old paint stuck all over her ungloved hands. The presenter was expressing his dismay at the poor maintainance of this, and many other of the exhibits.

anxiao
16th Nov 2018, 18:08
In 1979 I visited Cairo and went to one of the foremost museums of antiquity. As I noted that most of the artefacts were not labelled, I asked for a guide to take me round. A few Egyptian pounds changed hands and off we went.

In nearly every display case, the guide, looking carefully over his shoulder as we went, said, "These are copies, these are copies." He was plainly bitter about it and I asked where the originals were. "Taken" was all he would say in a low voice, as he was clearly in fear of being overheard.

I came away with the impression that most of the museum had been looted by senior staff at the behest of high politicians.

I believe that museums such as Deutsche Museum or the British Museum or the Louvre are far safer places to keep original historical pieces. Even without the fog of war clouding the looting of priceless items, there is enough thievery in less well run countries to preclude their storing of important cultural items.

There is also the danger of losing items to political fanaticism, such that a new leader will decree that all art from the previous regime shall be destroyed. And this does not happen just in tin pot dictatorships. I sure most of us have knowledge of one or more of theses examples in OECD countries. My own story is that in the Cape Town Parliament building there is a store room where portraits and group portraits of apartheid era leaders are stored. It was a very close vote some years ago in Parliament whether they were to be destroyed.

You do not have to like someones politics to appreciate the artistic achievement of the painter. This was the history. Only ignorant tyrants try to obliterate their forebears.

WingNut60
16th Nov 2018, 21:27
Unless the originals are to be available on public display, then none of this matters anyway.
If the displays that I am allowed to see are only copies or, worse, electronic, inter-active displays then whether the original even exists is of no great importance to me.

Tom Cundall
17th Nov 2018, 19:48
https://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/1/590x/raf1-899678.jpg

racedo
17th Nov 2018, 20:05
If someone comes and steals the Crown Jewels............. Does same apply ?

Well known that,The "art houses" are laundering items stolen across the world but seems they have the great and the good contacts.

G-CPTN
20th Nov 2018, 10:58
Town centres were purged of their historic houses (claimed as 'slum clearance') in favour of (now) long gone modern structures.
Meanwhile, in the 'new town' that was created as an alternative capital to London:-
Milton Keynes residents vote to demolish 1960s estate. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-46262189)

Milton Keynes. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Keynes#Birth_of_a_New_City)

Ancient Observer
20th Nov 2018, 15:56
It is well known that the Elgin marbles in the British Museum are all fakes. One of the UK Prime Ministers had copies made, and gave away the real ones. It was either Callaghan or Wilson, both of whom ended their careers as very wealthy people. The real ones went to the then ruling elite.
My Grandfather has one part.
As he is now short of a few bob, he would quite like to sell it. How should he go about it?

pzu
20th Nov 2018, 16:42
It is well known that the Elgin marbles in the British Museum are all fakes. One of the UK Prime Ministers had copies made, and gave away the real ones. It was either Callaghan or Wilson, both of whom ended their careers as very wealthy people. The real ones went to the then ruling elite.
My Grandfather has one part.
As he is now short of a few bob, he would quite like to sell it. How should he go about it?

As I understand it, the Elgin Marbles held by the British Museum are indeed fakes but still quite Ancient being copies
knocked up by the Romans around 3/400AD

One of my former school colleagues is a ‘leading light’ in the Restoration Campaign - However I’ve Never discussed this with him

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)

sitigeltfel
23rd Nov 2018, 18:57
President Macron of France announced today that 26 works of African art, taken from Benin by the French army in 1892, are to be returned without delay.

I trust the two Imperial Eagles, captured at Waterloo, are safely guarded?