By Zeynep Çelik
Antiquities were pawns in empire-building and worldwide rivalries; strength struggles; assertions of nationwide and cultural identities; and cross-cultural exchanges, cooperation, abuses, and misunderstandings—all with the underlying component of monetary achieve. certainly, “who owns antiquity?” is a contentious query in lots of of today’s foreign conflicts.
About Antiquities bargains an interdisciplinary learn of the connection among archaeology and empire-building round the flip of the 20th century. beginning at Istanbul and concentrating on antiquities from the Ottoman territories, Zeynep Çelik examines the preferred discourse surrounding claims to the earlier in London, Paris, Berlin, and long island. She compares and contrasts the reports of 2 museums—Istanbul’s Imperial Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—that aspired to emulate ecu collections and achieve the status and tool of possessing the fabric fragments of old background. Going past associations, Çelik additionally unravels the advanced interactions between individuals—Westerners, Ottoman selection makers and officers, and native laborers—and their competing stakes in antiquities from such mythical websites as Ephesus, Pergamon, and Babylon.
Recovering views which were misplaced in histories of archaeology, really these of the excavation employees whose voices have by no means been heard, About Antiquities presents very important old context for present controversies surrounding nation-building and the possession of the past.
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Extra resources for About Antiquities: Politics of Archaeology in the Ottoman Empire
He mocked the European mentality that complained of the “very unfair” claims of Turks to the “treasures of classical antiquity,” notably the sarcophagi discovered in Sidon, and resented the tendency to break the Ottoman laws at every possible occasion. He went as far as calling the acts of Europeans who “carried off . . whatever ancient works of art can be recovered [from] the Turkish soil” stealing. 12 The goal behind the shift from the three-way partage of the antiquities found on a site (between the owner of the property, the excavator, and the Imperial Museum, as specified by the 1874 law) to the absolute ownership of all discoveries by the museum was stated, above all, so as not to harm the historic heritage.
According to a guidebook, the common approach by tourists was through the Soğuk Çeşme Gate on the outer walls of the Topkapı Palace, then following the road to the right. 77 40 ◆ About Antiquiti e s Despite the museum’s central location and easy accessibility, nothing announced its presence to passersby. ”78 It was from here that the impressive complex could be seen. Yet this was not an imposing frontal view, as the buildings formed an introverted unit around another quiet garden, dotted with antique fragments.
It was considered very unfair that he [Hamdy Bey] should not at once have made over his sarcophagi [found in Sidon, and including the “sarcophagus of Alexander”] to the care of one of the great European museums. It was thought that the Turks had no right to keep these treasures of classical antiquity. Instead of being grateful that Turkey should have produced one real lover of ancient art, and that he should have gained the sympathy and generous protection of the Sultan, there were grumblings that Turkey should dare to call these treasures her own.
About Antiquities: Politics of Archaeology in the Ottoman Empire by Zeynep Çelik