James Cuno, Director, Art Institute of Chicago, has become known for his constant attacks on those he terms “nationalist retentionists” and who, according to him, pretend to be successors to ancient civilizations and inheritors of their cultural objects with which they have no real connections except that these objects happen to be within the territories of the present nation States.
In his recent book, Who owns Antiquity? Cuno declares:
“What is the relationship between, say, modern Egypt and the antiquities that were part of the land’s Pharaonic past? The people of modern-day Cairo do not speak the language of the ancient Egyptians, do not practice their religion, do not make their art, wear their dress, eat their food, or play their music, and do not adhere to the same kind of laws or form of government the ancient Egyptians did.”(1)