Art and cultural repatriation

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    Museums worldwide face the moral dilemma of what to showcase in their collections. Some governments and citizens have questioned the legitimacy of the entitlement to some ancient artifacts that were taken during circumstances like war. Countries have requested cultural repatriation of their artistic works. Cultural repatriation is the return of cultural relics that have been taken from their homeland. Items from around the world, such as Rome, Scotland, and Africa have faced this difficult situation. Created by Rhodian artist Agessandro, “The Laocoön and His Two Sons” is a Roman adaptation of a 200 BCE Hellenistic work (Adams 178). In the sculpture, Laocoön and his sons are being attacked by a pair of sea serpents sent by the gods. Only the portion containing Laocoön himself remained in Rome, until January 14, 1506 a farmer uncovered nine missing pieces. According to The Vatican Museum’s website, Pope Julius II immediately purchased the sculpture. However in 1799, The Commission of Arts and Sciences…

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    Julian Falat

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    Repatriation and the Arts During WWII Art repatriation is the return of art or cultural objects back to their countries of origin, or their former owners. In the art world, repatriation has become a very common occurrence; in particular when it comes to art from the past century. Looted art was a very common theme during both World War I and World War II. Art was often times taken on purpose, but sometimes even by accident. As previously stated, art was often wrongfully taken, or looted,…

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    There are those that walk the line between supporting art repatriation and denying art repatriation. Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, Maxwell Anderson, is one of those people. Anderson believes that efforts should be taken to return these stolen artifacts to their country of origin and he has even enforced the art repatriation campaign within the Dallas Museum of Art. Though he shows great support for the movement he does have his limits. He believes that after a certain, unspecified,…

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    Bring Them Home: Benin Art, Universal Museum and Artifact Repatriation Nigeria, the Giant of Africa, earned its title in terms of its geographic size, population size and economic growth. It is also popular for producing a vast majority of West-African art. According to Shyllon (1998), of all the countries south of the Sahara, Nigeria dominates in the production of sculptured antiquities as it possesses nine-tenths of sculptures aged at greater than a century. The ancient city of Benin in…

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    Vanishing Voices Summary

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    In the article Vanishing Voices, the author explores the significance of languages to cultures. This correlation is best exemplified in uncovering the history of Ancient Egypt through translating the scripts of the Rosetta Stone. The tablet that taught the world so much about the “Land of the Pharaohs” now is safely secured in England. Despite of a growing national movement to return antiquities to the culture of origin, England must ask themselves before granting repatriation of the Stone,…

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    Looted Artifacts

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    Being said, I propose that neither an emphasis on its artistic merits nor its historic significance can be fully comprehended without a discussion of the looted objects that are still circulating in the global art scene and constantly triggering diplomatic tension and museological debates. The looted artifacts are physical proofs of Yuan Ming Yuan’s awe-inspiring achievement in the world’s art history, as well as the material manifestation of the power imbalance between China and the western…

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    Ancient Artifacts Essay

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    The most important reason is the moral issue. Malcolm Bell, an art professor at the University of Virginia. According to his essay, “Who’s Right? Repatriation of Cultural Property”, he thinks all the antiquities should be returned to their original countries. In his opinion, “The ownership claim of a country of origin offers two benefits: It blocks the undocumented digging that destroys archeological sites and strips artifacts of their functional and historical contexts. Also, it prevents the…

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    some national museums are now expanding this statement to include art as well. Countries are clamoring for the return of priceless pieces of art that they claim were unjustly seized from their homelands while the museums that these items now occupy shout back that their ownership is inarguably legal and honest. The beloved Elgin Marbles of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece have become the epitome of both judicial and moral grey area in the arena of repatriation. The British Museum, where these…

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    within the modern museum. Jefferson, Alphine W. Spirited Encounters: American Indians Protest Museum Policies and Practices. The Public Historian 33, no. 3 (Summer, 2011): 138-143. In his scholarly review of Spirited Encounters: American Indian Protest Museum Policies and Practices, Alphine W. Jefferson’s asserts, “Therefore, to elevate one set of items above another is tantamount to making ethical decisions from a Eurocentric and external perspective. In this process, the internal…

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    Menil Collection in Houston announced the return of the 13th century Byzantine frescoes to Cyprus. These frescoes have been a main attraction for the museum, but the museum feels confident in their discussion to return the works. Another example would be the goddess of Moragantina which was illegally exported and sold to the Getty museum in California. This marble and limestone statue was returned to Sicily in 2011. (Povoledo) The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced that they would return 19…

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