Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Some Germans and the Rest of the World


Dorothy King, in a discussion on German attitudes to other nations ('German Propaganda Continues ...', Monday, April 29, 2013), on the recent article [Archaeology strains German-Turkish relations | Europe | DW.DE | 27.04.2013] suggests:
I think that the 'best' possible interpretation of all this 'Germany Know Best' anti-Turkish propaganda is that the Germans are bloody arrogant. Since this German superiority is often directed at people who are not as Aryan as they are, the term racist springs to mind. I don't think this represents the views of all Germans  [...]  according yet again to Hermann Parzinger, who keeps making these claims (see here) when the Turkish Ministry of Culture refuse to behave like good little children and do what he says. [...]  I have no problem with Turkey's new approach to cultural property (here), because it is an autonomous country (and not part of GroƟdeutschland).

Friday, April 26, 2013

Stop Britain's Possession of the Looted Parthenon Scultpures !


"Let the world protest and shout that the Parthenon Marbles belong to Greece and that it is time for the Houses of Lords and the Commons to immediately pass a law for their return if a shred of decency is to be left behind in this whole shameful affair. The Greeks have engaged in endless rounds of civilised dialogue, sent delegations and ministers to Britain and attempted to find a chink of humanity in the stony and arrogant hearts of the British Museum's administrators and in the corridors of Whitehall - in vain. The time for dialogue is over, as it was one day for British colonialism"

Bronze Heads to return to China


The two bronze heads from the Qing dynasty looted in the nineteenth century have become a cause celebre for Chinese nationalists seeking their return from the attempted sale of the YSL collection in France (when the buyer refused to pay for them). On Friday the billionaire owner of Christie’s auction house said he would hand the rat and rabbit heads back.

Scheherazade Daneshkhu, 'Pinault family offers to return bronze heads to China', Financial Times April 26, 2013

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Crowbars out, Looting Pays


The carved granite temple step (Sandakada pahana) step is a feature unique to Sinhalese architecture in Sri Lanka. This 1,000 year old pre-Hindu stone step is similar to those found in the ancient city of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, and is one of only seven examples known to date from this period, the other six being in situ. The massively heavy – three-quarters of a tonne stone measure eight ft by four foot and is six inches thick, but nevertheless was carted off by a colonial looter to England:
There was a battle between buyers in the room and on the telephone for this remarkable find which finally sold for £553,250 against a pre-sale estimate of £20,000 to £30,000. There were no fewer than eight telephone bidders and three in the saleroom [...] The Devon based owners, Mike and Bronwyn Hickmott, commented after the sale: "We are overwhelmed with the price achieved. It goes beyond all our expectations." Mrs Hickmott added: "I'd like to say a special thank you to Sam Tuke of Bonhams Exeter office. We had been turned away by other international auction houses as well as television antiques shows. Everyone pooh-poohed our belief that the stone was special. It was only Sam's determination to research the stone that has led to this happy result. We are thrilled."
Of course the idea that this knocked-off piece of an architectural monument from the other side of the world should be in neither a Devon garden or a London showroom presumably never occurred to the thrilled sellers (it said "property of a lady" in the catalogue). I expect the price obtained means that a few more bits of Anuradhapura will now be "surfacing" on the market with nice-sounding provenances before long. "Bonhams said it was unable to disclose who the new owner of the artefact was" what's the betting that it is NOT the people of Sri Lanka?

Bonhams Press Release: 'Rare Buddhist Andradhapura period (377 BC-1017 AD) Indian (sic) Carved Stone Temple Step Discovered in Devon Garden Sells for £553,250', 23 Apr 2013. BBC News, 'Devon garden Sri Lankan artefact sells for £550,000', 24 April 2013.