By Zeynep Çelik
Antiquities were pawns in empire-building and international rivalries; strength struggles; assertions of nationwide and cultural identities; and cross-cultural exchanges, cooperation, abuses, and misunderstandings—all with the underlying part of monetary achieve. certainly, “who owns antiquity?” is a contentious query in lots of of today’s foreign conflicts.
About Antiquities deals an interdisciplinary research of the connection among archaeology and empire-building round the flip of the 20 th century. beginning at Istanbul and targeting antiquities from the Ottoman territories, Zeynep Çelik examines the preferred discourse surrounding claims to the prior in London, Paris, Berlin, and big apple. She compares and contrasts the stories of 2 museums—Istanbul’s Imperial Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—that aspired to emulate ecu collections and achieve the status and tool of possessing the cloth fragments of historic historical past. Going past associations, Çelik additionally unravels the advanced interactions between individuals—Westerners, Ottoman choice makers and officers, and native laborers—and their competing stakes in antiquities from such mythical websites as Ephesus, Pergamon, and Babylon.
Recovering views which have been misplaced in histories of archaeology, quite these of the excavation employees whose voices have by no means been heard, About Antiquities presents very important historic context for present controversies surrounding nation-building and the possession of the past.
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Extra info for About Antiquities: Politics of Archaeology in the Ottoman Empire
The museum was housed in two temporary locations prior to this date. The first temporary quarters, leased in 1871, were in the Dodworth Building, 681 Fifth Avenue (between 53rd and 54th Streets). It was with the acquisition of the Cesnola Collection of Cypriot antiquities that the Dodworth Building could no longer accommodate the growing collection and in 1873 had to be moved farther down the grid to the Douglas Mansion at 128 West 14th Street. 62 The New York Times described the building as “unpretentious .
Echoing the developing awareness of the value of antiquities and the informed foreign interest in them, and acknowledging the lack of Ottoman experts, in the aftermath of the 1874 law, a government initiative stipulated the foundation of a school in 1875, designated to educate specialists of antiquity. According to its regulation, the School of the Imperial Museum (Müze-i Hümayun Mektebi), which would be temporarily housed in the Ministry of Education and moved to the museum building upon its completion, would accept twelve students on scholarship.
8 Not everybody agreed. In an article on the newly discovered Sidon sarcophagi, T. Hayter Lewis of the Athenaeum Club offered another perspective by framing the debate around keeping the monuments in their original location or transporting them to the museum in Istanbul. He did not quarrel with the idea of a museum in the Ottoman capital under the guidance of Osman Hamdi, even though the better alternative would have been to leave the antiquities in their original sites—a position that went back to the debates at the time of the moving of the Elgin Marbles.
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