Tuesday 25 May 2010

Muscarella on Raping the Past

There is an interesting quote by Oscar White Muscearella, another of those watchdogs, in the New York Observer article of Michael H. Miller 'Digging Up the Past', May 25, 2010. "Archaeology is love," he said. "Plunder is rape. People are hung up on collecting art as an expression of their wealth". I would add to that "power". Rape is an act of violence committed as an expression of lust and greed but also the power to take what the rapist wants against the will of its victims. In the same way the clandestine taking (or purchase) of "forbidden" archaeological collectables can be seen as nothing less than the rape of the archaeological heritage.

Vignette: Giovanni da Bologna The Rape of the Sabines(1581-3)Not in a private collection, but in a museum in Florence.

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