Tuesday 4 September 2018

US Recovers its Cultural Heritage

Dorothy shoes
Phew, eh? ' Stolen Ruby Slippers from The Wizard of Oz Recovered' fbi.gov 4 Sept 2018
 A pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and stolen from the actress’ namesake museum in Minnesota more than a decade ago has been recovered, the FBI announced today. [They were] recovered earlier this summer during a sting operation. [...] “From the outset,” said Special Agent Christopher Dudley, who led the investigation from the FBI’s Minneapolis Division, “our top priority was the safe recovery of the slippers.” [...]   Judy Garland, who played Dorothy Gale in the classic fairy tale film enjoyed by generations of moviegoers around the world, wore several pairs of the red slippers during the movie’s production, dancing her way down the yellow brick road and, at the story’s end, clicking her heels three times and repeating, “There’s no place like home.” The slippers are widely considered to be one of the most recognizable pieces of memorabilia in American film history, and are estimated to be worth several million dollars. The star’s childhood house in Grand Rapids was turned into a museum in 1975 and remains a repository of The Wizard of Oz artifacts and memorabilia. The slippers disappeared from there in the early morning hours of August 28, 2005, and the crime has weighed heavily on the community, whose identity is proudly associated with Garland’s birthplace.[...] “Recovering a cultural item of this importance is significant,” the FBI’s Dudley noted.
New York museum returns stolen antiquities to ASI
Stolen decades ago, two Indian sculptures — Mahishasurmardini (a sculpture of Goddess Durga slaying the buffalo-headed demon Mahishasur) dated 12th Century, and head of a male deity hailing from 5th-6th Century AD — are now finally back home. Housed in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for years, [...] A senior ASI official said the Goddess Durga sculpture was illegally exported from India from Nagarjunakonda, an archaeological site in western Andhra Pradesh. [...] The Durga statue [was...] in the Chakravarteswara Temple at Baijnath, a medieval capital in Uttarakhand. [...]   Talking about the history of the head of the male deity, identified as ‘Bodhisattava’, the official said it was part of the excavated inventory of the Nagarjunakonda site museum.
A cynic might suggest that the reason why American museum officials seem to have been gobbling up all manner of other people's cultural property because (the 'Injun' artifacts are often displayed in natural history museums), they have so pathetically little of their own.

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