RE: Venetian Scales of Man- govt stolen art

From: Philip Howison (
Date: Wed Feb 20 2002 - 00:48:13 MST

> ... and this is totally off-topic, but I think that someone should
> write a book about the traveling adventures of government-stolen
> art. Those Four Horses of St. Mark are now safely tucked away inside
> of San Marco's Basilica (the dummy horses are those displayed
> outside!).. well the Venetians claimed that the horses were theirs
> when Napolean stole them and then he gave them back, but the Venetians
> stole them from Constantipole four hundred years earlier! And those
> obelisks that Rome proudly displays now were stolen by Mussolini and
> now Egypt wants them back. And there are those many Greek art pieces
> that the British Museum proudly displays as their own, which Greece
> claims were stolen and would really like to havve returned.
> Amara

I for one would definitley read such a book, sounds like it would be very

Here in New Zealand a lot of art sold (not stolen) by Maoris in the 19th
century is being returned.
SOme of the claims are just ridiculous- there was at one point a thriving
industry in
tattoed heads, war parties would capture slaves who were then tattoed with
the extensive and elaborate tattoos (moko)
which chiefs wore. The slaves were beheaded and the heads were then
exchanged for muskets, blankets etc. Museums around the world are being
approached to return the heads, the way some tribal leaders today talk, it
is as if the Europeans captured Maori chiefs and beheaded them themselves
to take the heads as souvenirs. Even paintings and photographs of Maoris
are claimed by their descendants. Artworks, carvings etc sold by 19th
century Maoris are being returned, but surely
once something is sold the artist (or his descendants) has no further right
to it? Opinions please?

Philip Howison

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