Elgin Marble?

This looks like the Nazi's stealing the artwork from Europe, does it not?

Comments

  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    I agree 100% that the Elgin Marbles should be returned to the Acropolis, but no, it isn't like the Nazis.
  • I don't care one way or t'other, but ISTM that it's yet another dead cat, distracting us from the Important Issues Of The Day, such as Meghan & Harry.

    O, and those minor Brexit, and Covid, problems, too.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited March 14
    I don't care one way or t'other, but ISTM that it's yet another dead cat, distracting us from the Important Issues Of The Day, such as Meghan & Harry.

    O, and those minor Brexit, and Covid, problems, too.

    Minor to you. Maybe not to the Greeks.
  • Nazis?
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    I don't care one way or t'other, but ISTM that it's yet another dead cat, distracting us from the Important Issues Of The Day, such as Meghan & Harry.

    O, and those minor Brexit, and Covid, problems, too.

    Minor to you. Maybe not to the Greeks.

    ?

    Yes, even the Greeks have more important things to worry about. Such as Covid.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    I agree 100% that the Elgin Marbles should be returned to the Acropolis, but no, it isn't like the Nazis.

    Plenty of glorified souvenir collections by genocidaires with bad taste to go around though.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    I don't see any convincing reason to think Lord Elgin acquired the marbles unlawfully from the then possessors.

    There may be a historical case for returning them, although they've now been in the British Museum for more than twice as long as the period between their creation and the end of classical Athens.
  • edited March 14
    The concept of historical reconciliation may not be familiar in the UK? That the English had no right to make a deal about cultural heritage. And should right a wrong now. The return of some things "collected" in Canada has occurred. With resistance. A prominent lawyer here saw a medicine bag belonging to his family in said museum. The non-receptiveness of the museum to discussing this was startling. What are the rules for buying UK cultural and historical artefacts from there? if you've bought them, take them? Why not? If this isn't allowed, why do rules differ? Cultural imperialism?
  • TelfordTelford Suspended
    The concept of historical reconciliation may not be familiar in the UK? That the English had no right to make a deal about cultural heritage. And should right a wrong now. The return of some things "collected" in Canada has occurred. With resistance. A prominent lawyer here saw a medicine bag belonging to his family in said museum. The non-receptiveness of the museum to discussing this was startling. What are the rules for buying UK cultural and historical artefacts from there? if you've bought them, take them? Why not? If this isn't allowed, why do rules differ? Cultural imperialism?
    Are tourists no longer allowed to buy souvenirs
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I don't care one way or t'other, but ISTM that it's yet another dead cat, distracting us from the Important Issues Of The Day, such as Meghan & Harry.

    O, and those minor Brexit, and Covid, problems, too.

    Minor to you. Maybe not to the Greeks.

    ?

    Yes, even the Greeks have more important things to worry about. Such as Covid.

    Because even the Greeks can only worry about one thing at a time.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    What are the rules for buying UK cultural and historical artefacts from there? if you've bought them, take them? Why not? If this isn't allowed, why do rules differ? Cultural imperialism?

    AIUI if an artefact is offered for sale, and is considered to be of high cultural significance, the government can place a temporary export ban on it, to give a British-based buyer time to raise the funds to buy it. However if no British buyer comes forward, then yes, an overseas buyer can take it away and do what they like with it.

    With the Elgin marbles, though, we are talking about what was originally part of a building. So the issue isn't just removing an artefact (legally or otherwise), but damaging the integrity of a building.
  • mousethief wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I don't care one way or t'other, but ISTM that it's yet another dead cat, distracting us from the Important Issues Of The Day, such as Meghan & Harry.

    O, and those minor Brexit, and Covid, problems, too.

    Minor to you. Maybe not to the Greeks.

    ?

    Yes, even the Greeks have more important things to worry about. Such as Covid.

    Because even the Greeks can only worry about one thing at a time.

    I did use the words *more important* - I did not say that the Greeks were incapable in any way, but merely pointed out that they, too, have what seems to me to be a more pressing problem to deal with.

    YMMV.
  • MooMoo Kerygmania Host
    Ricardus wrote: »

    With the Elgin marbles, though, we are talking about what was originally part of a building. So the issue isn't just removing an artefact (legally or otherwise), but damaging the integrity of a building.

    AIUI the integrity of the building had already been seriously damaged. Some pieces were just lying around. There is a question of just how much would be left if Elgin had not taken them to London.

    This says nothig about whether they should now be returned to Greece.

  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I don't care one way or t'other, but ISTM that it's yet another dead cat, distracting us from the Important Issues Of The Day, such as Meghan & Harry.

    O, and those minor Brexit, and Covid, problems, too.

    Minor to you. Maybe not to the Greeks.

    ?

    Yes, even the Greeks have more important things to worry about. Such as Covid.

    Because even the Greeks can only worry about one thing at a time.

    I did use the words *more important* - I did not say that the Greeks were incapable in any way, but merely pointed out that they, too, have what seems to me to be a more pressing problem to deal with.

    YMMV.

    But usually when someone says that, the intent is to imply that the less important topic isn't worth dealing with at all.

    If that is not what you meant to suggest, you might want to consider re-phrasing your statement..
  • stetson wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I don't care one way or t'other, but ISTM that it's yet another dead cat, distracting us from the Important Issues Of The Day, such as Meghan & Harry.

    O, and those minor Brexit, and Covid, problems, too.

    Minor to you. Maybe not to the Greeks.

    ?

    Yes, even the Greeks have more important things to worry about. Such as Covid.

    Because even the Greeks can only worry about one thing at a time.

    I did use the words *more important* - I did not say that the Greeks were incapable in any way, but merely pointed out that they, too, have what seems to me to be a more pressing problem to deal with.

    YMMV.

    But usually when someone says that, the intent is to imply that the less important topic isn't worth dealing with at all.

    If that is not what you meant to suggest, you might want to consider re-phrasing your statement..

    Fair comment, and I certainly didn't mean to imply that the lesser topic wasn't worth dealing with at all - just that this doesn't seem to be a good time for it to come up...

    I have no horse in this race, BTW.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    I don't see any convincing reason to think Lord Elgin acquired the marbles unlawfully from the then possessors.

    There is no convincing reason to believe that the document and permission he claimed - retroactively - to have obtained ever existed.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    Moo wrote: »
    Ricardus wrote: »

    With the Elgin marbles, though, we are talking about what was originally part of a building. So the issue isn't just removing an artefact (legally or otherwise), but damaging the integrity of a building.

    AIUI the integrity of the building had already been seriously damaged. Some pieces were just lying around. There is a question of just how much would be left if Elgin had not taken them to London.

    This says nothig about whether they should now be returned to Greece.

    True - I didn't finish my line of thought properly before posting.

    Where I was going is that if you decided to detach and sell off part of a historically significant building, then even if both buyer and seller were willing, you would probably fall foul of some regulation for the protection of listed buildings - so there is hypocrisy in thinking that the same principle doesn't apply to the Acropolis as well.

    Now in Lord Elgin's case, there is certainly an argument that he was trying to protect the marbles from further damage, which would be analogous to (say) York Minster removing its stained glass windows during the War to protect them from air raids - but in that case the expectation would still be that the windows would be returned once the danger had passed.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I don't care one way or t'other, but ISTM that it's yet another dead cat, distracting us from the Important Issues Of The Day, such as Meghan & Harry.

    O, and those minor Brexit, and Covid, problems, too.

    Minor to you. Maybe not to the Greeks.

    ?

    Yes, even the Greeks have more important things to worry about. Such as Covid.

    Because even the Greeks can only worry about one thing at a time.

    I did use the words *more important* - I did not say that the Greeks were incapable in any way, but merely pointed out that they, too, have what seems to me to be a more pressing problem to deal with.

    YMMV.

    But usually when someone says that, the intent is to imply that the less important topic isn't worth dealing with at all.

    If that is not what you meant to suggest, you might want to consider re-phrasing your statement..

    Fair comment, and I certainly didn't mean to imply that the lesser topic wasn't worth dealing with at all - just that this doesn't seem to be a good time for it to come up...

    I have no horse in this race, BTW.

    It didn't just come up. In Greece it never goes away.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    I don't see any convincing reason to think Lord Elgin acquired the marbles unlawfully from the then possessors.
    There is no convincing reason to believe that the document and permission he claimed - retroactively - to have obtained ever existed.
    The document is certainly suspicious.
    However, Elgin couldn't have removed the statues from the Parthenon without the authorities giving at least tacit consent. The timescale is not such that he could have surreptitiously pocketed them and fled before the loss was noticed.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    My suspicion is that the local authorities pocketed something else very quickly and quietly.

    Just as important a question is the restoration of souvenirs taken from the first people here. Those, and the bodies also taken, should be restored to the land from which they were taken.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Same thing here in the US, Gee D.

    Such a lovely, advanced species we are. :(
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Particularly return of the bodies. The teaching of the first people is that they belong to the lands where their ancestors lived for millennia - they belong to the land and not the land to them. It is vital that they be returned.

    As an aside, there was a very sad piece of litigation late last year, and another in the last weeks. Where is a child to be buried? On the land of the mother's people, or that of the fathers's? It's the sort of question which no court is really able to determine, but where no other, more suitable forum, exists.
  • The whole question of ancient buildings being despoiled or moved wholesale from one country to another is a minefield. Yes, Elgin removed parts of the Parthenon frieze but if you look at pictures of the Parthenon painted/drawn in the 18th century the site looked nothing like what we see now. Just as Stonehenge was extensively reconstructed, so too the Parthenon - in fact in both places recent research has shown that some of the earlier reconstruction got it wrong.

    The argument for keeping the frieze and other bits from the Parthenon at the British Museum is two-fold: first that Elgin paid the government of the time and second that sited in the safety of the BM they are better preserved than in the heavily polluted environment of modern-day Athens.

    It also raises uncomfortable issues for other countries, particularly the USA.

    While the origins of Hearst Castle are well known (the Cistercian monastery of Santa Maria de Óvila, originally in Spain), Hearst and his antique acquirer, Arthur Byrne, were only the most notable of the movers of heritage. And while moving the buildings may be seen as preservation* there are numerous examples where cherry-picking has marooned chapels and cloisters thousands of miles from their original setting with no obvious public benefit for either the country of origin or the population in their new location.

    Perhaps the one good thing to come from the actions of Elgin, Hearst, Byrne et al is that they galvanised public opinion in Europe and breathed new life into previously moribund culture and heritage departments of government.

    While the wholesale removal of buildings may not be a good thing, and the hiving off of parts out of context could be seen as worse, I think to try and compare to the looting of the Nazis is unfair and unwarranted.

    BTW not only are some Greeks not particularly concerned about the "Elgin Marbles" there are some who feel they're best preserved in the BM.

    * some "preserved" buildings

    Miami C12th St Bernard de Clairvaux Segovia, Spain
    New York C12th Saint Michel-de-Cuixa (cloisters) France
    San Francisco stones from Santa Maria de Óvila Spain
    Detroit Chateau d'Herbéville (chapel) France
    Milwaukee St Joan of Arc Chapel France
    Richmond, Va Warwick Priory (re-named Virgina House) & Agecroft Hall United Kingdom
    Melbourne Cook's Cottage United Kingdom
  • Some items returned to Canadian indigenous nations have been buried after they were returned. If the Greeks decided to destroy the marbles after their return, that's their right isn't it? It'd make an interesting novel to have an occupation of a museum and the artefacts progressively destroyed as negotiations went no where.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    I don't care one way or t'other, but ISTM that it's yet another dead cat, distracting us from the Important Issues Of The Day, such as Meghan & Harry.

    O, and those minor Brexit, and Covid, problems, too.

    Minor to you. Maybe not to the Greeks.

    ?

    Yes, even the Greeks have more important things to worry about. Such as Covid.

    Because even the Greeks can only worry about one thing at a time.

    I did use the words *more important* - I did not say that the Greeks were incapable in any way, but merely pointed out that they, too, have what seems to me to be a more pressing problem to deal with.

    YMMV.

    But usually when someone says that, the intent is to imply that the less important topic isn't worth dealing with at all.

    If that is not what you meant to suggest, you might want to consider re-phrasing your statement..

    Fair comment, and I certainly didn't mean to imply that the lesser topic wasn't worth dealing with at all - just that this doesn't seem to be a good time for it to come up...

    I have no horse in this race, BTW.

    It didn't just come up. In Greece it never goes away.

    And besides that, it's a pretty subject thing, trying to decide which less-important issues are still worth pursuing during a pandemic, and which can be set aside.

    In my experience, and I'm NOT saying this is the case with Bishops Finger, but I find arguments like "We should be dealing with the major problems, not these trivial issues!", often tend to be made by people with a vested interest in ceasing discussion of the "trivial issues."

    For example: "Why are we spending so much time arguing about the price of widgets, when kids are starving in Africa?" Maybe a good point, but rings a little self-serving coming from the CEO of Acme Widgets.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    I feel very strongly about the repatriation to New Zealand of mokomokai which are the tattooed heads of Maori and Moriori* which were collected by various Europeans in Colonial times and have ended up in museums throughout the world. Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand has a mandate from the Government to search them out and bring them home. Once they are back efforts are made to return them to their whanau (families)using expert knowledge of the areas from which the tattoos originate, and possibly DNA matching.

    * Moriori are the Polynesian people who come from Rekohu (or The Chathams as they are known by most New Zealanders). They are part of NZ and the last place mentioned in the weather forecast).
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    edited March 15
    TheOrganist--

    Re Hearst, castle, monastery, etc.:

    I dug a little online, because I know Hearst Castle isn't here in SF. It's in San Simeon (Wikipedia), down the coast between SF and LA.

    However, it turns out that the Santa Maria de Óvila monastery stones were never used there (despite some adventure-drama TV to the contrary). Some wound up in Golden Gate Park (here in SF). But Hearst imported all kinds of other architecture and included it in Hearst Castle.

    Atlas Obscura (great site!) has lots of info about Hearst's projects, and those of other people:

    "In the Early 1900s, Robber Barons Bought Dozens of Centuries-Old European Buildings. Where is Medieval America Now?"

    Long article, but written in an approachable style.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    If the Greeks decided to destroy the marbles after their return, that's their right isn't it?

    The Acropolis is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to UNESCO (link): 'World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.' So no, in UNESCO's view they don't have the right because the marbles don't belong to them exclusively. (Nor, obviously, do they belong to the British Museum exclusively.)

    Granted, I don't think UNESCO's opinion has much legal force, but I understand that if the Acropolis is on their list, then it must have been nominated by the Greek government in the first place. (Although this is all quite academic since the Greeks don't want to destroy the marbles.)

    (This has some relevance round here - currently Liverpool's historic docklands are on the At Risk list because of the city council's redevelopment plans. Now you might think that Liverpool City Council has the right to make decisions about regenerating its own area, but UNESCO disagrees, because the docks aren't the exclusive patrimony of Liverpudlians - they are part of the history of anyone affected by industrial development and Transatlantic slavery.)
  • @Golden Key I thought some of the interiors at least (stalls, etc) were from the monastery? Ah well, another illusion shattered!
  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    edited March 15
    Perhaps as they were purchased for the going rate at the time, we can sell them for the going rate today? It might help the economy at a time when we need it the most. I don’t know why we would want to hold on to them anyway, they take up a lot of space and can be easily seen on line.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    TheOrganist--
    @Golden Key I thought some of the interiors at least (stalls, etc) were from the monastery? Ah well, another illusion shattered!

    From the articles, IIRC, there are things from other monasteries.
  • edited March 15
    This may be of interest. It's about another cultural item, and discusses principles and issues.
    As soon as they gained independence, these [countries] became increasingly insistent in their demands for repatriation of cultural objects against former metro- politan powers. For source nations,repatriation constituted the closure of decades of pillage and plunder by the Western colonialist nations and the restoration of their national heritage.

    There is discussion of the retroactivity of claims. That the object was not part of the cultural heritage of the country which held the object after export. It was returned to the country of origin.

    Those who assert that the Brit Museum has the Acropolis marbles as a centrepiece of it's display and collection, that too much time has passed, might answer if the UK has any of its own artefacts it could display instead.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    Elgin couldn't have removed the statues from the Parthenon without the authorities giving at least tacit consent.

    Presumably he did indeed have the permission of the authorities, but as the authorities at the time were the Ottomans, you can see why the Greeks wouldn't be pleased. (I wonder what Greeks at the time thought about it).
    sited in the safety of the BM they are better preserved than in the heavily polluted environment of modern-day Athens.

    From what little I know, I get the impression that they are in much better condition than they would have been if they'd remained in Athens, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that the plan was to put them in a museum in Athens rather than reattach them to the Parthenon.
    It also raises uncomfortable issues...

    I suspect that some of the reluctance to return the marbles might be a worry that it would be the start of a slippery slope leading to all the world's museums being emptied of everything that wasn't made by people of the same culture in the same region; I have some sympathy with that worry, and there might be people who would make such demands, but that doesn't mean that they'd be right to do so.

    Some things are probably important or unique enough that they should be kept in their place of origin (as I understand it, the Elgin Marbles could reasonably be argued to be in this category); there are particular issues around sacred items or quasi-sacred things like human remains; and the way in which the items were originally acquired will often be relevant. But where these problems don't apply, it seems that displaying examples of the achievements of a culture more widely around the world is in many ways a good thing, with the potential to increase cross-cultural understanding and respect.

    To give a (not particularly sensitive) example from the world of railway preservation, you occasionally see comments that the two A4 class steam locomotives preserved in North America should be returned to the UK. If they were the only two in existence, I would entirely agree that at least one of them should be in the UK, but as there are in fact four of the class preserved here, wanting the other two to be repatriated as well seems rather insular -- it seems good that people in the US and Canada should have the chance to see them.

  • From what little I know, I get the impression that they are in much better condition than they would have been if they'd remained in Athens, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that the plan was to put them in a museum in Athens rather than reattach them to the Parthenon.

    It has been argued persuasively that this is precisely not a reason to keep any objects from the place where they are from and part of the culture. It's an excuse to keep them. I noted above that some returned Canadian indigenous objects have been buried. This is the right of those whose culture they are from. The country which has them has no right to tell those who they belong to what to do with them when they are returned.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    From what little I know, I get the impression that they are in much better condition than they would have been if they'd remained in Athens, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that the plan was to put them in a museum in Athens rather than reattach them to the Parthenon.

    It has been argued persuasively that this is precisely not a reason to keep any objects from the place where they are from and part of the culture. It's an excuse to keep them. I noted above that some returned Canadian indigenous objects have been buried. This is the right of those whose culture they are from. The country which has them has no right to tell those who they belong to what to do with them when they are returned.

    But the Parthenon is not a returned Canadian indigenous object. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as noted above. That raises a different set of issues.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Those who assert that the Brit Museum has the Acropolis marbles as a centrepiece of it's display and collection, that too much time has passed, might answer if the UK has any of its own artefacts it could display instead.
    Firstly, that's begging the question of ownership.

    Secondly, the point of an institution like the British Museum is that it contains artifacts from different cultures and traditions. It's not a monument to national culture.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    Those who assert that the Brit Museum has the Acropolis marbles as a centrepiece of it's display and collection, that too much time has passed, might answer if the UK has any of its own artefacts it could display instead.
    Firstly, that's begging the question of ownership.

    Secondly, the point of an institution like the British Museum is that it contains artifacts from different cultures and traditions. It's not a monument to national culture.

    Maybe there's something from the UK that the Greeks could have instead of the Marbles?
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    We have a museum dedicated to things we stole from other cultures. Yeah there's a selling point.
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    Those who assert that the Brit Museum has the Acropolis marbles as a centrepiece of it's display and collection, that too much time has passed, might answer if the UK has any of its own artefacts it could display instead.
    Firstly, that's begging the question of ownership.

    Secondly, the point of an institution like the British Museum is that it contains artifacts from different cultures and traditions. It's not a monument to national culture.

    Maybe there's something from the UK that the Greeks could have instead of the Marbles?

    We could give them Philip back?
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Most of those cultures stole from their neighbours. Athens didn't get wealthy enough to build the Parthenon by treating its allies with respect.

    There isn't a perfectly just settlement to revert to.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Most of those cultures stole from their neighbours. Athens didn't get wealthy enough to build the Parthenon by treating its allies with respect.

    There isn't a perfectly just settlement to revert to.

    There's an argument. We get to keep them because your ancestors were naughty.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    Most of those cultures stole from their neighbours. Athens didn't get wealthy enough to build the Parthenon by treating its allies with respect.

    There isn't a perfectly just settlement to revert to.

    There is with respect to the bodies and artefacts of our First Peoples in various UK museums. Retention of these is causing real hurt to their descendants.
  • The Greeks hate Elgin because of his widely quoted description of them as mere Arabs in trousers.
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate
    Whatever is done about the Elgin Marbles, it might be wise to make detailed 3-D holographic copies of them. That way, the British Museum could still have a copy to display.

    I saw something on TV, years ago, where this was done with some very old, landmark building. (Don't remember which. I've been looking it up, but no luck so far. Likely was on PBS, and I think it might've been on either "NOVA" or "Time Team".) They took detailed pics of every bit of the building, then put them together into one big hologram.

    I've sometimes thought that could be a way to make zoos better for animals: the ones in zoos could go to safe rescue places and (re)learn to be wild. They'd be recorded, perhaps with hidden cameras. The video would be sent to be turned into active holograms, which would be displayed at the current zoo sites. And the same might be done with still-wild animals, in the wild, so they wouldn't be taken from the wild.

    Back to Elgin Marbles: Given the ongoing advances in 3-D printing, it might be possible to produce physical copies. They'd need various watermarks, IDs, etc., so they'd never mistaken for the real deal. This might be a pragmatic way for the original society and the current displayers/owners to both have some of what they want. And the British Museum might get more than usual guests, so they could see what all the fuss was about.
  • The British museums are returning human body parts, have been for a while - Guardian story from 2019. We agreed to repatriate human remains from 2000 and changed the law in 2004. It's ongoing.

    The article does mention in passing the Elgin Marbles. From seeing them, not all on display are the real things, some are facsimile models, while the real things are stored and repaired / maintained. It's one room in a massive building, which I tend to visit in sections.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    The British museums are returning human body parts, have been for a while - Guardian story from 2019. We agreed to repatriate human remains from 2000 and changed the law in 2004. It's ongoing.

    Ongoing, but none too quickly from the complaints aired. I can't understand the delay, which continues to hurt present-day members of those peoples.
  • churchgeekchurchgeek Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    The British museums are returning human body parts, have been for a while - Guardian story from 2019. We agreed to repatriate human remains from 2000 and changed the law in 2004. It's ongoing.

    Ongoing, but none too quickly from the complaints aired. I can't understand the delay, which continues to hurt present-day members of those peoples.

    It possibly could be done more quickly for all I know. I would think, though, that the remains should be returned with at least as much care to their preservation as when they were taken and kept all these years. Doing that requires the labor of experts who are probably not in great supply. But the process should be (and maybe is) subject to audit by the First Peoples concerned, who should be fully aware of the reason(s) for the delay.
  • churchgeekchurchgeek Shipmate
    From what little I know, I get the impression that they are in much better condition than they would have been if they'd remained in Athens, but I seem to remember reading somewhere that the plan was to put them in a museum in Athens rather than reattach them to the Parthenon.

    It has been argued persuasively that this is precisely not a reason to keep any objects from the place where they are from and part of the culture. It's an excuse to keep them. I noted above that some returned Canadian indigenous objects have been buried. This is the right of those whose culture they are from. The country which has them has no right to tell those who they belong to what to do with them when they are returned.

    As an excuse it also smacks of colonial paternalism.
  • churchgeekchurchgeek Shipmate
    ...It also raises uncomfortable issues for other countries, particularly the USA....

    * some "preserved" buildings

    Miami C12th St Bernard de Clairvaux Segovia, Spain
    New York C12th Saint Michel-de-Cuixa (cloisters) France
    San Francisco stones from Santa Maria de Óvila Spain
    Detroit Chateau d'Herbéville (chapel) France
    Milwaukee St Joan of Arc Chapel France
    Richmond, Va Warwick Priory (re-named Virgina House) & Agecroft Hall United Kingdom
    Melbourne Cook's Cottage United Kingdom

    Here's the Herbéville chapel on display in the Detroit Institute of Arts. While the site lists the provenance, it doesn't say how the chapel came to be in the possession of a dealer, nor whether the dealer himself donated the chapel to the DIA or whether some client of his did. I may need to ask someone I know who works in the collections there...

    Apart from museums and spaces like Hearst Castle, a lot of US churches - especially cathedrals, which tend to have been built in the early 20th century when so much of this selling of plundered objects was afoot - also have objects or architectural elements from European churches. My own church has some windows said to be from Spain, some (I think Italian?) tapestries, an icon we know nothing about, and what is said to be a banner from some church, which is a painting on cloth of what looks to me like an icon that church would've been known for (because the painting of it depicts revetement, a votive offering [as I read it] of a triple strand of pearls, and a wooden frame - I'm not sure of the correct terminology, but the top is shaped similarly to an A-frame and would not have been part of the original icon). In contrast, we also have some fixtures and a window from another Detroit church that had folded into our congregation before it became the cathedral. So there's a positive example; I don't know about all the older, European objects or how they were acquired by whoever donated them.

    I used to work at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and they have tapestries gifted by the Crocker family (who donated the land for the cathedral after their mansion(s) on that land were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake - and the tapestries were in their mansions), as well as some fixtures that are quite old. The Chapel of Grace has a reredos from a European chapel - I don't remember all the details now, but it was Flemish, I think. I think late medieval. There's also a stone table in that same chapel, used as the credence table, that's similarly old and European, and an altar cross that's of German origin (I want to say 17th or 18th c).

    Those are just the two examples I'm familiar with. I've always heard that sometimes these artefacts were on the market after a church was decommissioned and/or destroyed (by fire, e.g.), and other times they were brought over during/after the world wars, perhaps from churches that were destroyed then? Anyone know about that? Are those just the cleaned-up versions of the truth?
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