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August 30th, 2015

Posted In: fakes and forgeries

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The restitution of those cultural objects which our museums and collections, directly or indirectly, possess thanks to the colonial system and are now being demanded, must also not be postponed with cheap arguments and tricks.”

Gert v. Paczensky and Herbert Ganslmayr, Nofretete will nach Hause

We must admit that the supporters of Western domination in the cultural area are very active and are never tired of inventing conceptions and slogans that will protect their illegal holding of looted / stolen cultural artefacts of others. Their capacity for inventing hegemonic constructs that may even impress some of the deprived peoples should not be underestimated.

Hardly is one theory destroyed, another one rises or an old one is revived or modified. The “universal museum”, at least as a mechanism for defending Western holding of looted artefacts, is now considered dead. But in its place appears a revived theory of “shared heritage” advanced to serve the same purpose as all previous inventions: justify the continued wrongful detention of the cultural artefacts of others.

read full text at: http://www.museum-security.org/Kwame_Opoku_SHARED_HERITAGE.doc

August 21st, 2015

Posted In: Dr. Kwame Opoku writings about looted cultural objects

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I have just had a Damascus moment. The scales have fallen from my eyes. I have seen the light. The British Museum (left) is unquestionably the greatest cultural institution on earth. We all know this, but how many of us fully appreciate it until we cross the threshold and enter its beautiful, spacious and subtly illuminated galleries containing a multitude of numinous art and artefacts representing the zenith of human creativity. 

What few people realise is that the multitude of objects that make up the British Museum’s collections (which date from darkest antiquity to the present day), can only be properly appreciated in this context, in this very museum, right here in Bloomsbury, London. 
Take, for example, the colossal Assyrian winged bulls (right), the beauty and power of which can only be fully comprehended when juxtaposed with an excruciatingly poetic marble nude from the High Classical period of ancient Greece. Similarly, how could we possibly assimilate into our enfeebled twenty-first century minds the grace and charm of the Greek contrapposto without seeing it in proximity to the stiffly marching figures of Ancient Egypt in the adjacent gallery? These objects speak to each other, and to us, with startling lucidity.
Read Tom Flynn’s full blog at:
http://tom-flynn.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/lets-hear-it-for-british-museum.html

August 18th, 2015

Posted In: Parthenon Marbles (DO NOT CALL THE ELGIN MARBLES!)

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August 17th, 2015

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August 17th, 2015

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August 17th, 2015

Posted In: Museum thefts

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2 600 Zim artefacts looted

Shingirai Huni

Lovemore Mataire Senior Reporter
The national director of the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) Dr Godfrey Mahachi yesterday said more than 2 600 Zimbabwean cultural objects currently on display in the British Museum must also be repatriated together with the skulls of the heroes and heroines of the First Chimurenga.

Dr Godfrey Mahachi said most of the objects were looted soon after the enactment of the Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1899.

“On the basis of this act, whites could confiscate any object regarded as having spiritual value or significance. A good example is Mkwati’s walking stick. It was viewed as a spiritual object, it had ritual powers and strength,” Dr Mahachi said.

Some of the objects confiscated, he said, included mbira (traditional thumb piano), mutsago (wooden headdress), drums, spears taken from prominent warriors or military leaders, snuff boxes, wooden utensils, hides and hakata (divination bones).

He said Mkwati’s stick was returned in 1998, but the other Zimbabwe Bird taken from Great Zimbabwe was still to be repatriated from Cape Town South Africa where it is in Cecil John Rhodes’ private museum.

“We believe that the Government is engaging those that require to be engaged on this one (the Zimbabwe Bird) for it is one of the most important cultural objects bearing our national identity,” Dr Mahachi said.

He said Mkwati’s walking stick was part of Baden Powel’s collection which he acquired during his incursion in the Second Matabele War in 1896 when he sought to relieve the British South African Company under-siege in Bulawayo.

Dr Mahachi said the confiscation of the objects was part of the colonialists’ strategy to pacify the indigenous population. He said the cultural objects exemplified the richness of human civilisation and a manifestation of people’s contribution to human development.

“The objects tell our story in terms of how we relate among ourselves, with nature and they are about our identity as a people. The reason why the Asians have made economic strides is because they premised their development in their culture because within every culture exist nuggets of wisdom,” said Dr Mahachi.

He said the practice of using human heads as trophies was prevalent during colonial conquest as it presented evidence of colonial conquest of legendary African military strategists like Chief Mashayamombe who killed many whites including Norton, a farmer based in present day Norton Town.

Decapitation, Dr Mahachi said, was a symbolic act by colonialists in proving their successes in overcoming iconic military strategists like Mapondera, Mashayamombe, Mashonganyika, Chingaira Makoni and Mutekedza Chiwashira.

“It was also a psychological warfare; imagine what it did for the people to bury their leader minus his head. It was even worse in Namibia were the Germans ruthlessly murdered the Herero. The barbaric and savage behaviour was just out of this world,” Dr Mahachi said.

He said the world was coming to the acknowledgement that the idea of keeping human trophies of foreign nationals in their museum was unethical and wrong and that there was need for decency in the treatment of human remains.

Source: 2 600 Zim artefacts looted | The Herald

August 14th, 2015

Posted In: Ton Cremers

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2 600 Zim artefacts looted

Shingirai Huni

Lovemore Mataire Senior Reporter
The national director of the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) Dr Godfrey Mahachi yesterday said more than 2 600 Zimbabwean cultural objects currently on display in the British Museum must also be repatriated together with the skulls of the heroes and heroines of the First Chimurenga.

Dr Godfrey Mahachi said most of the objects were looted soon after the enactment of the Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1899.

“On the basis of this act, whites could confiscate any object regarded as having spiritual value or significance. A good example is Mkwati’s walking stick. It was viewed as a spiritual object, it had ritual powers and strength,” Dr Mahachi said.

Some of the objects confiscated, he said, included mbira (traditional thumb piano), mutsago (wooden headdress), drums, spears taken from prominent warriors or military leaders, snuff boxes, wooden utensils, hides and hakata (divination bones).

He said Mkwati’s stick was returned in 1998, but the other Zimbabwe Bird taken from Great Zimbabwe was still to be repatriated from Cape Town South Africa where it is in Cecil John Rhodes’ private museum.

“We believe that the Government is engaging those that require to be engaged on this one (the Zimbabwe Bird) for it is one of the most important cultural objects bearing our national identity,” Dr Mahachi said.

He said Mkwati’s walking stick was part of Baden Powel’s collection which he acquired during his incursion in the Second Matabele War in 1896 when he sought to relieve the British South African Company under-siege in Bulawayo.

Dr Mahachi said the confiscation of the objects was part of the colonialists’ strategy to pacify the indigenous population. He said the cultural objects exemplified the richness of human civilisation and a manifestation of people’s contribution to human development.

“The objects tell our story in terms of how we relate among ourselves, with nature and they are about our identity as a people. The reason why the Asians have made economic strides is because they premised their development in their culture because within every culture exist nuggets of wisdom,” said Dr Mahachi.

He said the practice of using human heads as trophies was prevalent during colonial conquest as it presented evidence of colonial conquest of legendary African military strategists like Chief Mashayamombe who killed many whites including Norton, a farmer based in present day Norton Town.

Decapitation, Dr Mahachi said, was a symbolic act by colonialists in proving their successes in overcoming iconic military strategists like Mapondera, Mashayamombe, Mashonganyika, Chingaira Makoni and Mutekedza Chiwashira.

“It was also a psychological warfare; imagine what it did for the people to bury their leader minus his head. It was even worse in Namibia were the Germans ruthlessly murdered the Herero. The barbaric and savage behaviour was just out of this world,” Dr Mahachi said.

He said the world was coming to the acknowledgement that the idea of keeping human trophies of foreign nationals in their museum was unethical and wrong and that there was need for decency in the treatment of human remains.

Source: 2 600 Zim artefacts looted | The Herald

August 14th, 2015

Posted In: Ton Cremers

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August 13th, 2015

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August 13th, 2015

Posted In: fine art insurance

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August 2nd, 2015

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August 2nd, 2015

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August 2nd, 2015

Posted In: fakes and forgeries

For a long time, successive German governments have sought to avoid taking responsibility for the genocide of the Herero and Nama of South-West Africa, now Namibia, in 1904-1908. We have in previous articles examined the various untenable arguments that were advanced by German governments to reject this historic cruelty and responsibility.

The attempt to deny historical evidence of German genocide was bound to fail in so far as all the elements of German responsibility have been fully documented in German official papers and writings of German scholars. The extermination order of the German General in South West Africa, General von Lothar should have been sufficient evidence of the declared intention to exterminate Herero and Nama:

‘I, the great general of the German troops, send this letter to the Herero people. The Herero are no longer German subjects. They have murdered and stolen, they have cut off the ears and other parts of the bodies of wounded soldiers, and now out of cowardice they no longer wish to fight.  I say to the people: anyone who hands over one of the chiefs to one of our stations as prisoner shall receive 1,000 marks and whoever delivers Samuel Maharero will receive 5,000 marks. The Herero people must however leave the land. If the people refuse to do so, I shall force them with the Great Rohr [cannon]. Any Herero found within the German borders, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot. I no longer receive women or children.  I will drive them back to their people or order them to be shot. These are my words to the Herero people. 
Vernichtungsbefehl (Extermination Order) by the German commander, General Lothar von Trotha.

Do read full text via:

www.museum-security.org/kwame_opoku_german_genocide_nama_san_herero_damara.rtf

August 2nd, 2015

Posted In: Dr. Kwame Opoku writings about looted cultural objects