Saturday 30 May 2015

US Department of State Officials Discuss Stopping Trade in Looted Goods in Paris

Between June 1st and June 3rd (just in time for the Hopi masks sale), Richard Stengel - Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs - will be in Paris with Evan Ryan (Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs).
A principal focus of their meetings in Paris will be discussions with international partners on the trafficking of looted antiquities. While in Paris, they will meet at UNESCO with Director-General Irina Bokova and participate in a roundtable with stakeholders to discuss measures that the international community can take to cut off trafficking in antiquities, especially from Iraq and Syria.
Well, we already have a blueprint for that: "take appropriate measures to ensure that all actors involved in the trade in cultural property, including but not limited to US ones, are required to provide verifiable documentation of provenance as well as export certificates related to any cultural property imported, exported or offered for sale". Easy. Decent guys in Washington need to just get the responsible dealers on their side and pass a law implementing it. Let us see if the cumbersome US cultural property protection legislation can grind through the process before the war ends and Syrian and Iraqi sites are dust.

Meanwhile, instead of following the developments as they unfold and the comfort zone of the no-questions-asked market starts to collapse, the International Association for Professional Numismatists' (IAPN) lobbying effort is directed towards launching more personal attacks on advocates of best practice and the Association of Dealers and Collectors of Ancient and Ethnographic Art (ADCAEA) is ignoring it. Only the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art  (IADAA) -  whose dealers tend to pay attention to presenting the collecting histories of the objects they sell - (say they are) interested in 'working together'. But then, they have only 34 members.That's not going to make much of a dent in the overall philistinism of the no-questions-asked-antiquities merchants.

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