Thursday, October 8, 2009

More Art and Politics?

While archaeological bloggers seem unwilling or unable to consider the possibility that politics impacts how nations deal with cultural property issues far more than their polestar of "preservation of context," three recent news stories suggest otherwise.

  • In the meantime, Iran has threatened to cut off ties with the British Museum because the Museum has delayed a loan of the "Cyrus Cylinder." The British Government (along with most of the Western world) has raised serious concerns about the recent Iranian election. In return, Iranian authorities have branded Britain the "Little Satan" to associate it with its ally, "the Great Satan," i.e., the United States.,8599,1907066,00.html I suspect the "Cyrus Cylinder" is not leaving the British Museum soon, despite Iranian threats.

  • Finally, one museum in Taiwan has declined a donation of the bronze rabbit and rat fountain heads from the Qing Dynasty's Yuanmingyuan (Summer Palace) that were subject of a disputed auction earlier this year. See Taiwan recently elected a government more friendly to the mainland. Could that have something to do with the decision? Despite the comments of the legislator associated with the ruling party, quite probably.

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