Monday, October 12, 2009

Empty our museums of stolen treasures

An issue close to my heart. The louve and france are giving back the 3000 year old wall painting fragments to Egypt.

Now Egypt want some other treasures back too - and can you blame them? Who said the colonising countries could come in and strip and steal the ancient treasures. No one! But while victors make the rules the wheel keeps turning and often those on the bottom end up on the top.

"Many relics from ancient Egypt remain in foreign museums and Cairo is struggling to persuade other countries to send them back, like France which agreed to return a set of 3,000-year-old wall painting fragments.

"It is the Egyptian people's right to see works of art from their country's civilisation," said Abdel Halim Nureddin, a former head of Egypt's antiquities authority."

"A number of the world's most famous museums are clinging on to collections of priceless Egyptian antiquities from the time of the Pharoahs, many of them acquired during British colonial rule.

The Rosetta Stone, famous for helping the understanding of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics by showing the same information in three different scripts, has been on display at the British Museum since soon after its 1799 discovery.

Cairo wants that back and is also seeking the return from Berlin of the 34-centuries-old bust of Queen Nefertiti that was discovered on the banks of the Nile.

Other artefacts that Egypt would like to regain include the Dendera Zodiac from the Louvre, a bust of pyramid builder Ankhaf from the Boston Museum of Fine Art, and a statue of architect Hemiunu, currently in the Roemer und Pelizaeus Museum in Hildesheim, Germany."

Lets go through our museums too and give it back.
Of course i want our maori taonga to go back to the maori people too. Maori are still here - just like Egyptians. We can look after our own treasures, we did it for quite a while before being overwhelmed by colonisation. What a sad fate for these living taonga - to be shut away. Away from people who love them, to be examined and tested. It is not right.
Once again I say - can you not hear their voices crying to go home?


Edward said...

Yes, the return of cultural treasures to the countries of their origins is a very important issue to me too. These artefacts are part of national identities as well as having historical, scientific, and aesthetic values. I am all for short-term loans so that collections can sometimes travel the globe educating people, but these should always be at the discretion of the country which culturally owns the objects. It does seem to me however, that trends in the acquisition of antiquities is starting to change dramatically, especially in the Museum world. Unfortunately, on a lesser scale, some Museums feel 'forced' into acquiring objects which will otherwise be sold via underground markets to private collectors.

Marty Mars said...

Good points edward - i agree with you. I don't have any actual problems with museums but they must accept that the owners of these treasures have a say in how they are displayed, whether they are displayed and any context of the displays. it is not up to the museums etc to do this. When this happens we will see a great upsurge in interest in these treasures from many perspectives not just their age or intrinsic beauty.

Edward said...

Very true Marty. All the more disturbing how the Darg Museum has gone against the grain for indigenous custodianship and sensitivity, and not only lain the pou on its side, but also their stupid interpretations next to it. I too have just sent a letter of complaint to them. It just isn't good enough in the 21st Century for any Museum to do such a thing.