Thursday, February 02, 2006

Louvre to return replicas of missing reliefs from ?zmir Agora

Another art repatriation piece about items being returned by the Louvre. This cultural reclamation is really becoming a hot topic these days. I watched a program about Egypt's efforts to reclaim the Nefertiti bust and the Rosetta Stone that past weekend. Zawi Hawass claims that the German archaeologists that spirited the Nefertiti bust away to Berlin disguised the beauty of the piece at the time so Egyptian officials would not claim it as part of their share of the excavation. I wonder if this is the case or if it is the pretext being used to make a claim on the famous piece since the excavation in which it was discovered was a joint effort.

"Three sections of reliefs depicting the figures of the goddess of love, Aphrodite, and the god of medicine, Asklepios, were excavated in ?zmir by French archaeologist Paul Gaudin in 1890. They were donated to the Louvre in 1901 after his death. However, at the time these reliefs were found it was debatable as to which ancient city these pieces belonged. The excavations carried out between 1932 and 1941, as well as in 2002 with the Greater ?zmir Municipality's support, indicated that the reliefs belonged to the ?zmir Agora. Thus, the reliefs of the sea god, Poseidon and his wife, Asklepios and the fertility goddess, Artemis, will be made complete when the addition of the missing figures of Aphrodite and Asklepios are brought from the Louvre."