Lydian Hoard treasure in shape of winged seahorse, sold to pay gambling debts and replaced with a fake, to be taken home
The original, left, and the fake golden brooch in the shape of a winged seahorse from the Lydian Hoard in Turkey.
For thousands of years it lay underground, part of the buried treasure of the legendarily wealthy King Croesus. But since being illegally excavated in the 1960s, it has been stolen, replaced by a fake, sold to pay off gambling debts and has allegedly brought down a curse on its plunderers.
Now the 2,500-year-old golden brooch is to be returned home to Turkey, where it will be given a special place in a new national museum.
The Turkish culture minister, Ertugrul Günay, has announced that German officials have agreed to return the missing artefact, a brooch in the form of a winged seahorse, possibly as early as this year.
The brooch is part of the Lydian Hoard, known in Turkey as the Karun Treasure, which was looted from iron-age burial mounds in western Turkey in 1965. The artefacts were sold on, eventually to be exhibited in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1980s.
After a six-year legal battle that reportedly cost Turkey £25m, it was repatriated in 1993 and went on display in the Usak museum. But in 2006, after an anonymous tipoff, the brooch on show was discovered to be a fake, with the original missing again.
After an investigation the director of the museum, Kazim Akbiyikoglu, who had been instrumental in recovering the artefacts from the US, was arrested with 10 others. Akbiyikoglu admitted selling museum treasures to pay off gambling debts and was jailed for 13 years. He blamed his misfortune on an ancient curse said to afflict those who handle the treasure.
Popular rumour has it that all seven men involved in the illegal digs of the burial mounds died violent deaths or suffered great misfortune.
Although the details of the brooch's latest recovery are unclear, Turkish officials are delighted. "I am very happy to hear that the piece will finally return home," said a culture and tourism official, Serif Aritürk, who is responsible for the museum in Usak. "Since I was in office in 2005 and 2006 I felt personally responsible for the theft ; our directorate came under a lot of pressure." He added that he had never doubted the brooch would reappear. "No collector would have dared to acquire such a well-known artefact, it was clear that the thieves would not find a buyer easily."
Journalist and archaeology expert Ömer Erbil, who investigated the brooch's theft in 2006, agreed: "For the past three years the ministry of culture has exerted great pressure to retrieve stolen artefacts from Turkey. Museums and collectors are increasingly hesitant to buy them. It is partly due to the ministry's efforts that we were able to find the brooch relatively fast," he said.
Turkey has recently launched what some call "an art war" to repatriate antiquities from museums around the world that it says were stolen and smuggled out of the country illegally. According to official numbers, 885 artefacts were returned in 2011 alone.
Critics argue that foreign museums helped to preserve countless historical treasures from destruction or theft.
However, according to Erbil, the 2006 heist marked a crucial turn: "Attitudes to cultural treasures and museums underwent a revolutionary change in Turkey. The ministry of culture works relentlessly to protect artefacts and to make sure that they are properly and safely displayed."
The Archaeological Museum in Usak is only able to display 2,000 of its 41,600 historical objects. A larger museum, to open in December 2013, is being built to house the 450 pieces of the Lydian collection in its entirety. With the retrieval of the hippocamp brooch, Aritürk hopes the treasure's curse has finally been lifted. "The piece will receive a place of honour in the new museum. Once it returns home, I am sure tourists and those that appreciate history and art will follow."
Pasted from <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/25/king-croesus-treasure-returning-turkey>
2. BERLIN -Son of Nazi-era Art Dealer Signals Readiness to Discuss Restitution
Lawyer Says Willing to Negotiate on Looted Pieces in U-Turn From Previous Stance
Mary M. Lane
Jan. 24, 2014 5:49 p.m. ET
The son of a Nazi-era art dealer whose vast trove of art has been in legal limbo since it was seized by German prosecutors two years ago has for the first time signaled his willingness to return pieces that may have been looted from Jews.
"We want to take responsibility," Hannes Hartung, a lawyer representing the son, Cornelius Gurlitt, told The Wall Street Journal on Friday.
While the willingness to negotiate marks a sharp change in Mr. Gurlitt's previous refusal to consider any returns, the potential for continued clashes with families seeking restitution appeared far from over.
Mr. Hartung said that out of the more than 1,400 pieces in the collection, "very few" could be characterized as looted. German officials have said previously that the figure could reach into the hundreds.
"There are very few cases that could even possibly be looted art," Mr. Hartung said in a telephone interview. "But we are trying hard to find fair solutions for looted works in accordance with the Washington Principles," he said, referring to international guidelines that Germany signed in 1998.
The reclusive Mr. Gurlitt told the German weekly Der Spiegel in November, shortly after the existence of his art trove was revealed publicly, that he wouldn't return anything. "I will not speak with them, and I won't freely give anything back, no, no," he was quoted as saying, referring to the heirs of past owners.
Mr. Gurlitt didn't have a lawyer at the time, and has not spoken publicly since. Mr. Hartung, who signed on in December, acknowledged that his client had been opposed to restitution, but didn't elaborate on why he had shifted his position.
Under German law, any sale between 1933 and 1945 from a Jew to a non-Jew is considered to have been made under duress unless it can be proved that the purchaser paid a fair market price and wasn't affiliated with the Nazis.
A government-appointed task force is researching the provenance of around 500 in the Gurlitt collection that might fall under the scope of that law, but it has no power to require restitution. Because the statute of limitations has expired, Mr. Gurlitt isn't compelled to return any looted artworks.
Meanwhile, lawyers for some claimants have raised concerns that improper storage could be impairing the value of the pieces, which were confiscated by Bavarian authorities in early 2012 from Mr. Gurlitt's Munich apartment.
Because of these and other concerns, the lawyers said they decided to approach Mr. Hartung instead of further lobbying the German government to intervene.
One of them is Christopher Marinello, a lawyer representing the family of the late French art dealer Paul Rosenberg, whose collection was largely lost to Nazi plundering.
"Anything short of complete restitution without monetary compensation will be unacceptable to the Rosenberg family," Mr. Marinello said.
One of the paintings that belonged to Mr. Rosenberg, "Woman with a Fan," a 1923 oil on canvas by Henri Matisse, is the showpiece of the Gurlitt collection. Nazi party records show that it was taken in a Nazi-authorized raid on a bank vault in southwestern France.
Jörg Rosbach, a lawyer representing another family with a claim to a Max Liebermann painting, said he also approached Mr. Gurlitt's legal team.
Private dealers value the Matisse at around $6 million to $8 million, a figure that they say could rise to $20 million at auction, given the attention caused by the Gurlitt case. If in good condition, the Liebermann painting, "Two Riders on the Beach," could fetch or eclipse the artist's record of $3.8 million.
Yet hopes for such prices would be shattered if the paintings were damaged.
Mr. Gurlitt's collection consists of works on paper and oil paintings, which can deteriorate if not stored under appropriate temperature and humidity conditions. The works on paper must be wrapped individually in sterile tissue paper away from sunlight, according to David Lewis, an art historian and founder of the Commission for Looted Art in Europe, a nonprofit research center in London.
A spokesman for the Augsburg prosecutor's office, which handles Mr. Gurlitt's case, said the works were "not in a basement." He said they weren't exposed to direct sunlight and the storage area was temperature-controlled.
Mr. Gurlitt, who kept the work hidden in his apartment for decades, didn't store them under museum-standard conditions.
The Matisse is particularly vulnerable: Photos taken by German authorities show that the painting, unlike the Liebermann, isn't on a stretcher, the wooden frame that artists wrap canvas over to prevent paint from peeling or buckling, says Mr. Lewis.
Mr. Marinello wrote to the prosecutor's office on Monday requesting that the work be stretched and asking whether it was being properly stored.
His request was forwarded to Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel, a respected academic and the head of a task force appointed by the prosecutor to determine the art's provenance. Ms. Berggreen-Merkel promised to respond within a few days, Mr. Marinello said.
A spokesman for Ms. Berggreen-Merkel didn't respond to requests for comment. The prosecutor's office declined to comment on specific works of art. Germany's Culture Ministry didn't respond to emails and calls requesting comment.
"It is possible everything has been properly stored, but then why wouldn't the prosecutor's office or task force just say that?" says Mr. Marinello.
Bavarian authorities confiscated the art from Mr. Gurlitt, now 81 years old, in early 2012 as part of a tax investigation.
They didn't disclose the find publicly, in violation of the Washington Principles, until the German magazine "Focus" reported on the find in November. The delay was criticized by art experts and U.S. and Israeli officials.
German authorities said they were constrained by confidentiality rules surrounding the tax case, and noted that the principles aren't legally binding.
Write to Mary M. Lane at email@example.com
3. NAGPRA - Your Government at Work Winter 2014
Many of you may not be aware of how a NAPRA claim works. Now you do ..printed in full below. It would be fascinating to know exactly the cost of this procedure which is paid by you the taxpayer.
[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 24 (Wednesday, February 5, 2014)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov ]
[FR Doc No: 2014-02305]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
National Park Service
Notice of Intent To Repatriate Cultural Items: Art Collection and
Galleries, Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA
AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.
SUMMARY: The staff of the Art Collection and Galleries of Sweet Briar College, in consultation with the appropriate Indian tribes or Native Hawaiian organizations, has determined that the cultural items listed in this notice meet the definition of unassociated funerary objects. Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to claim these cultural items should submit a written request to the Art Collection and Galleries of Sweet Briar College. If no additional claimants come forward, transfer of control of the cultural items to the lineal descendants, Indian tribes, or Native Hawaiian organizations stated in this notice may proceed.
DATES: Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to claim these cultural items should submit a written request with information in support of the claim to the Art Collection and Galleries of Sweet Briar College at the address in this notice by March 7, 2014.
ADDRESSES: Dr. Karol A. Lawson, Director, Art Collection and Galleries, Pannell 208, Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA 24595, telephone (434) 381-6248 (434) 381-6248 FREE , email firstname.lastname@example.org .
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice is here given in accordance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. 3005, of the intent to repatriate cultural items under the control of the Art Collection and Galleries, Sweet Briar College, Sweet
Briar, VA, that meet the definition of unassociated funerary objects under 25 U.S.C. 3001.
This notice is published as part of the National Park Service's administrative responsibilities under NAGPRA, 25 U.S.C. 3003(d)(3). The determinations in this notice are the sole responsibility of the
museum, institution, or Federal agency that has control of the Native American cultural items. The National Park Service is not responsible for the determinations in this notice.
History and Description of the Cultural Items The Art Collection and Galleries staff at Sweet Briar College have identified eight ceramic vessels in the permanent collection as being unassociated funerary objects from the archeological site known as Nodena, located in Mississippi County, AR. In addition, the staff have identified three ceramic fragments comprising a single object and one
intact ceramic vessel as being unassociated funerary objects from burials in Mississippi County, AR. Therefore, there are 10 unassociated funerary objects from Mississippi County, AR, known to be at Sweet Briar College.
In 1932, hundreds of cultural items were removed from the Nodena site in Mississippi County, AR, by Walter B. Jones of the Alabama Museum of Natural History, according to a published report, Nodena: An Account of 90 Years of Archaeological Investigation in Southeast Mississippi County, Arkansas (Fayetteville: Arkansas Archaeological Survey, 1989, ed. Dan Morse, p. 33). Jones excavated at the site in the winter and early spring of 1932, and he and his team recovered bottles,
bowls, and jars (as well as other material) and human remains. Jones designated a portion of the
artifacts, or even exactly how many, were included in the donation to Sweet Briar College.
Between 1932 and the early 1990s, artifacts from this donation were displayed at various locations on Sweet Briar's campus, most notably in an academic building and then in the library. First under the care of the history department, the objects were then overseen by the library staff and the anthropology department faculty. In the early 1990s, care for the artifacts was turned over to the newly established art gallery. The Art Collection and Galleries staff at Sweet Briar College have
identified 10 objects in the collection as unassociated funerary objects from this donation. Based on a telephone conversation between Karol Lawson of Sweet Briar College and Dr. Ann M. Early, Arkansas State Archaeologist, Arkansas Archaeological Survey, these ceramic objects appear to be
affiliated with The Quapaw Tribe of Indians. Dr. Early explained that, though the Nodena site predates documented contact between European explorers and the Native Americans identifying themselves as Quapaw, archeologists working with this material today generally concur that
The Quapaw Tribe of Indians is the modern, Federally-recognized tribe most closely affiliated with the pre-historic cultural group that occupied the Nodena site. The staff of the Sweet Briar College Art Collection and Galleries inventoried and researched the provenance of the Nodena site objects in 2012, and distributed a NAGPRA summary to The Quapaw Tribe of Indians. Carrie Wilson, NAGPRA representative of The Quapaw Tribe of Indians, contacted Sweet Briar College in the summer of 2013, and subsequently requested repatriation of the objects.Determinations Made by the Art Collection and Galleries of Sweet Briar College Officials of Sweet Briar College have determined that:
ceramic objects he excavated at the Nodena site as a gift to Sweet Briar College, VA. This donation appears to have been initiated by Mrs. Lena Garth of Huntsville, AL, whose daughter and granddaughter both attended Sweet Briar College. According to letters in the Sweet Briar College acquisition files, Jones informed Harris. G. Hudson (Sweet Briar history department faculty) of the gift on May 31, 1932, and Sweet Briar College president, Dr. Meta Glass, informed Jones that the materials had been received on June 18, 1932. Nowhere in the extant 1932 letters and memos did Jones, Garth, Hudson, or Glass provide specific lists clearly delineating what individual
Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(3)(B), the 10 cultural items described above are reasonably believed to have been placed with or near individual human remains at the time of death or later as part of the death rite or ceremony and are believed, by a preponderance of the evidence, to have been removed from a specific burial site of a Native American individual. Pursuant to 25 U.S.C. 3001(2), there is a relationship of shared group identity that can be reasonably traced between the unassociated funerary objects and The Quapaw Tribe of Indians.Additional Requestors and Disposition Lineal descendants or representatives of any Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization not identified in this notice that wish to claim these cultural items should submit a written request with information in support of the claim to Dr. Karol A. Lawson, Director, Art Collection and Galleries, Pannell 208, Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA 24595, telephone (434) 381-6248, email mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org; by <March 7, 2014. After that date, if no additional claimants have come forward, transfer of control of the unassociated funerary objects to The Quapaw Tribe of Indians may proceed.; The Art Collection and Galleries of Sweet Briar College is responsible for notifying The Quapaw Tribe of Indians that this notice has been published.
Dated: January 9, 2014.
Acting Manager, National NAGPRA Program.
[FR Doc. 2014-02305 Filed 2-4-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4312-50-P
Pasted from <http://www.nps.gov/NAGPRA/FED_NOTICES/NAGPRADIR/nir0651.html>