The Marbles : British Museum Loan

3096 Words Jul 21st, 2015 13 Pages
“Elgin Marbles: British Museum loan 'an affront to the Greek people '”
It was this headline about the British museum decision to loan Greek god Ilissos to Russia that caught my attention. I wondered how a nation like Britain that prided itself on it ethics blatantly refuses to return a historical item that was never theirs. Why would that not be considered stealing? As I delved further into Greece’s demand for repatriation, I began to notice a common theme that ran through most items with contested ownership. I pondered about Greece’s marbles and then India’s koh-i-noor diamonds. I wondered why Britain could refuse to repatriate these items and not be shamed internationally. But was Britain alone in its refusal? Well it clearly was not. Most Western museums had objects illicitly acquired from other nations, making it impossible to shame Britain without shaming themselves. On the other hand developing nations often lack the resources required to contest Western ownership of historical artefacts. As I researched more and more into the topic for my major project, I realised that returning art to its country of origin, is indeed a complex issue. I felt that it was natural for nations to desire aspects of their past and connections to their ancestors returned. However, some of these nations had either long neglected their culture or honestly did not possess proper resources to look after these objects if restored. However, after researching beneath the surface of art…
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