Friday, 1 February 2013

More Racist Attitudes from US Collectors

The ACCG Facebook page has recently seen a spurt of activity, with off-topical whimsical musings to abrasive goppish xenophobism. Among the latter is this prime example posted 7 January 2013, commenting on this news article - Will Boston Museum Of Fine Arts Return Looted Benin Bronzes?:
If these weren't taken in 1897 would they still exist? How far back should one go to roll back history and undo cultural exchange? Should we all go back to living amongst our original tribes if we can find them?
It is rather shocking, even from a coiney, to read of the 1897 Punitive Expedition described as "cultural exchange". Most of the Benin artefacts were looted from the archives of a Palace of the Oba which at the time of the raid had been curating the relics of the history of the state and people for longer than the  Washington White House. The writer's point about the original "tribes" is lost on me, but seems from this context likely to be dismissive xenophobic insult aimed at allegedly backward Brown Folk.

Vignette: Palace of the Oba 300 years ago, dismissed by coin dealer Sayles as merely "tribal" (British Museum)

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