• Cultural Heritage & Arts Review Call for Articles

    SAFECORNER is pleased to pass along this call for entries:

    The Cultural Heritage & Arts Review is seeking articles for its upcoming edition. The focus of this issue will be looting and crimes against cultural property, but articles on all topics related to cultural heritage and the arts are welcome!

    The Cultural Heritage & Arts Review is a publication of the Cultural Heritage and Arts Interest Group of the American Society of International Law. It is published biannually. Noted scholars and practitioners in the cultural heritage and arts field contribute to and receive this publication.

    To have your article considered for publication, please submit it to Co-Editors-in-Chief, Elizabeth Varner and Betina Kuzmarov, at eic.char@gmail.com.

    The deadline for submissions is October 31, 2011. Submissions should be limited to 3000 words, although longer submissions may be considered. Please include an abstract and bio with your submission. Authors are required to obtain all legal permission for any images that they seek to use in this publication.

    If you have any questions please contact Elizabeth Varner or Betina Kuzmarov.

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  • Made whole, the "Weary Herakles" reunites in Turkey

    At last, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts has returned the top half of the “Weary Herakles” to Turkey, as previously suggested here. The agreement to transfer ownership of the statue was signed on September 23, between the Museum and the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey.

    According to the Museum’s press release, the “agreement acknowledged that the MFA acquired the object in good faith and without knowledge of any ownership or title issues[italics added]. It also provided for the transfer of the object, which took place after the signing.”

    The return of the Weary Herakles to Turkey, preceded by the repatriation of antiquities from Italy by the Metropolitan Museum (shortly before the publication of the 2006 book The Medici Conspiracy by SAFE Beacon Award recipients Peter Watson and Cecilia Todeschini) and the return of antiquities to Greece and Italy by the Getty Museum (as discussed in the book Chasing Aphrodite by 2011 SAFE Beacon Award recipients Jason Felch and Ralph Frammolino), confirms the long-held belief at SAFE that ownership “without knowledge of any ownership or title issues” is not a position that a principled institution or collector can maintain or defend. See our Statement of Principles. Let’s hope the practice of acquiring unprovenanced artifacts without asking questions is truly coming to an end.

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  • Getty to return two antiquities to Greece

    Source: Hellenic Ministry of Culture

    The J. Paul Getty Museum has agreed to return two antiquities to Greece. Both were acquired during the 1970s. Two fragments of a funerary relief have long been known to fit a third fragment in the Kanellopoulos Collection in Athens. The reunification of this monument would justify this return. It should be noted that the source for the fragments was Nikolas Koutoulakis whose name appears in the infamous organigram cited in The Medici Conspiracy. The source of the Athens fragment has not been given.

    Source: Hellenic Ministry of Culture

    The more intriguing return is the religious calendar from Thorikos in southern Attica that was acquired in 1979 [Getty]. This appears to have been seen in Greece by David F. Ogden, a student at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (1959-61). Ogden was conducting research in the area of Thorikos. The cutting on the block suggested that it had been used in a later building, perhaps a Late Antique Christian basilica.

    The usual benchmark for acquisitions is 1970, the date of the UNESCO Convention. So why has the Getty decided to return an inscription that appears to have been known some time before? When did the inscription leave Greece? What is the full collecting history?

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  • Rescuing Cultural Assets

    9.11
    A decade on from the devastation of 9/11, the loss of life is just as sorrowful and the loss of cultural property and personal artifacts just as important as the day it happened. Not only were tangible things lost—people, buildings, planes, sculptures, paintings—but also our memories of these artifacts were altered. With natural disasters occurring all around us—quakes, tsunamis, hurricanes—the need to identify, rescue and restore damaged cultural property is ever greater. But we also need to protect our cultural heritage, which in turn preserves our collective memories.

    Japan has taken steps in that direction after the huge earthquake and tsunami on March 11. According to Heritage on the Wire (the news service of the Global Heritage Fund) the tally of damaged cultural properties in Japan stands at 714, with Sendai Castle and the Buddhist temple Zuigan-ji, and its more than 100 cultural artifacts, sustaining significant damage. One of the worst-hit towns was Rikuzentakata, which lost ...

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  • A Fresh Coat of Justice

    Good news on the front to protect Southwest US rock art sites from vandalism. This article details the arrest and prison sentence of another rock art vandal; a man who shot up a petroglyph panel with red and green paintball pellets in March of last year! More detail can be found here. Grapevine Canyon, in the Lake Mead National Park, has long been a sacred site to Colorado River Native American tribes, and is home to at least 700 petroglyphs. The perpetrator and two others were turned in by a witness, and the ring leader was sentenced to 15 months prison and a $10,000 dollar bill to help in restoration. Let justice be served!

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  • The ethics of "tomb raiding?"

    This rather shocking article needs to be further exposed. Cultural internationalism and a demand for antiquities justified for aesthic and “preservation” related reasons appears to be alive and well, at least where open-air purchasing of potentially authentic pieces of Angkor Wat in Thailand are conserned! Closing the article by stating how much they purport to have learned regarding the “rights, wrongs and grey areas” of tomb raiding is especially galling. My personal response to the article can be found here.

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