Täklä-ṣadəq: Ethiopian History (1943)

Täklä-ṣadəq Mäkwərya, a prominent Ethiopian historian, writes about the British looting of the royal city of Magdala in 1868 from an Ethiopian perspective. Beside listing several of the looted treasures, including Christian manuscripts, and mentioning a case of restitution, he draws attention to the provenances of the objects prior to their inclusion in the royal treasury and thus provides an insight into the complexities of translocations.

commented by Gidena Mesfin Kebede

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Korais: Continuation of the Improvised Reflections on Greek Culture and Language (1807)

Infuriated by the purchase of old manuscripts from Greek monastic libraries in the Ottoman Empire by the English traveller Edward Clarke (1769–1822), the classical scholar Adamations Korais (1748–1833) pleaded for the creation of a »Hellenic Museum« (Eλληνικόν μουσείον), that would register and preserve manuscripts as well as antiquities from all over Greece. His motion represents the first project for a Greek national museum, conceived in Paris at a moment when the Louvre collections were rapidly growing thanks to Napoleon’s spoliations.

commented by Eleonora Vratskidou

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Baradère: Antiquités mexicaines (1834)

Jean Henri Baradère’s luxurious in-folio publication Antiquités Mexicaines was first published in Paris in 1834 and can be considered as instrumental in the process of scientific and popular appropriation of Mexican cultural heritage in Europe. Showcasing documents and drawings from an earlier archaeological expedition, the publication opens with a dedication to the Mexican government. The first pages also include certificates of authenticity for the published material from both French and Mexican authorities and a letter from the Mexican president. This choice of documents adds a particular political interest to this monument to Mexican archaeology.

commented by Susana Stüssi Garcia

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Karl VII. von Neapel und Sizilien: Prammatica LVII (1755)

Das 1755 im Königreich Neapel und Sizilien erlassene Gesetz zur Verhinderung unkontrollierter Ausgrabungen und Ausfuhren antiker Kunstwerke ist eines der frühesten Kulturgut-Schutzgesetze der anbrechenden Moderne. Der Erlass ist vor allem in seiner kulturpolitischen und merkantilistischen Argumentation bemerkenswert: Er definiert einen Anspruch auf Erhalt und Sicherung eines als dem Land zugehörig verstandenen materiellen Kulturerbes. Dieses wird in der Folge durch ein System von Expertengutachten und Zollkontrollen auch institutionalisiert und ins allgemeine Gedächtnis eingeschrieben.

kommentiert von Robert Skwirblies

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