Tuesday 11 January 2011

Of Obelisks and Obstructionists

I was interested to see the connection David Gill made between the fuss made by antiquity collectors about the unfortunate collapse of buildings in Pompeii.
There have been suggestions by some that it demonstrates that Italy does not care for its cultural property: indeed, that 130 or so antiquities should have remained in their North American public and private collections rather than going back to Italy.
and that "North American commentators who hold such views will have been chastened to read the text of a letter that Zahi Hawass has written to the president of the Central Park Conservancy and Michael R. Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York City. It concerns the current state of preservation of the obelisk of Thutmose III (mislabelled “Cleopatra’s Needle,” and stuck out in all weathers in Central Park since 1880). Quick as a flash Cultural Property Observer retorted...

Apples and oranges. It's hard to protect monuments from weathering in cold places like New York and London. What does Hawass expect? Encasement in glass perhaps? Anyway, New York isn't asking for repatriation of its cultural heritage from Egypt or anywhere else as far as I can tell. In contrast, Egypt and Italy are and should be held to account for it. By whom? Mr Tompa sugests that the obelisk (a single and as we see movable object) cannot be protected from the effects of New York weather but expects the Italians to think of a way to stop the rain falling on Pompeii.

Vignette, obelisk of Tuthmosis III from Heliopolisin in its original setting in Alexandria, it probably would have done much better to leave it and its pair now in London there in its original setting (from Wikipedia).

1 comment:

Damien Huffer said...

I think the Italians would also debate the point of whether or not Italy ever gets cold during winter as well.

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