Thursday, 30 April 2015

Theft in Kathmandu

Elijah Wolfson, 'Theft in Kathmandu: Can Nepal’s Cultural Legacy Be Saved?' Newsweek, 29th April 2015
In the square, centuries-old buildings with ornately carved wood beams, stone statues and gold and silver leafing now sit in various states of disrepair. Pick through any pile of rubble and you are bound to uncover a section of a frieze depicting a Hindu epic or the arm of some god, broken off from its venerable body. Stowing an illicit find in a backpack and walking out would be fairly easy. Though the area teems with the uniformed and armed—Kathmandu police, Nepalese soldiers, search-and-rescue teams from a range of countries—no one is paying much attention to the dozens of people wandering aimlessly among the destruction. [...] The network currently making up Nepal’s cultural guard is very, very loose. The police are there, but protecting debris is, of course, a low priority in a city where the earthquake death toll just passed 5,000 and dead bodies are still being pulled out from fallen buildings. Thousands have been left homeless, and many fear an impending food and water shortage, as well as a sanitation crisis on the horizon that could lead to a public health catastrophe.
and dealer at the other end of the chain? What excuse would they have for handling items like these no-questions-asked?

Vignete: Buddhe head in the trade - this decorative one of polymer.

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