Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cultural Security News (Jun. 23 - Jun. 29)

Intertwining of politics and security of cultural property
In politics, in Korea, the case of the Buddha statue that was stolen from Japan and maybe retained reflects broader ambitions of repatriation of cultural property. In Afghanistan, the Minister for Information and Culture received an arms antiquity from U.S. Homeland Security Investigations. An article reviewed the question of the Benin Bronzes still at large. In Iran, authorities welcomed easing of UN sanctions on trading in Iraqi cultural property.
In a crossover of politics and security, in Iraq, cultural heritage sites remain at risk despite severe laws that can carry the death penalty. Also, an article suggests that less overt trading of antiquities from Iraq may indicate that the market is moving underground. The World Heritage Committee voted to adopt a Jordanian resolution on the protection of Palestinian cultural heritage in Jerusalem. In Peru, Unasar ministers met to declare a commitment on countering trafficking in cultural property. In Egypt, intellectuals organized groups to visit archaeological sites, monuments, and museums to raise awareness for protection most recently in the Zamalek district of Cairo. In Peru, archaeologists kept the excavation of a Wari tomb a secret to lower the risk of looting.
In economics, in Hong Kong, foreign auction houses, such as Christie’s, and art fairs show increasing interest in establishing offices and events. Articles revisited the practicality or risk of art as an alternative investment.
In a crossover of economics and security, in Australia, reportedly the National Gallery sold a 1000-year-old bronze Shiva statue to help finance the $5-million larger Shiva from Subhash Kapoor. In Syria, looters continue to exploit instability to smuggle cultural objects.
In security, in Sri Lanka, organized gangs continue to loot archaeological sites. In Italy, police recovered a cache of Etruscan artifacts including funerary urns, bronze weapons, and other objects. In Egypt, authorities feared planned looting by organized thieves during protests at the end of the month. At the same time, police seized smuggled artifacts from Peru.
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