NY Met Museum to return statues to Cambodia.
Experts say the statues appear to have been looted around 1970, about the time federal prosecutors say another statue, of a mythic warrior figure, was also removed from Koh Ker. That statue was pulled from auction at Sotheby’s last year after Cambodia asked for its return.
Wow. I never expected this. I just saw this exhibit last year!
One thing about exploring the world is that I often am reminded of how the old colonial world order still remains in parts of our society - case in point - many Western museums have artifacts that are gained by wholesale theft, looting and force, usually greased by corruption and broken regulatory systems in the (often impoverished) countries of origins.
It’s starting to change as the developing world comes out of their doldrum and demands their history repatriated.
It’s inconvenient, but if that means I need to plan an overseas trip to see history in its proper place, then I should value that.
I was in Cambodia some years ago at Angkor Wat. To see the immense edifices still standing vs statues whose heads and limbs were lopped off by looters to make their way into auction houses, private collections and Western museums — it was a huge shock.
I only hope the Cambodian govt can be good caretakers of their history.
Learning from the past means nothing when you can destroy in the present:
The site also houses the astonishing remains of an ancient Buddhist city, which archaeologists are now racing to save. An international team has only until June to finish the excavations, which began in 2009. So far they have uncovered golden Buddhist statues, dozens of buildings and fragile Buddhist manuscripts buried within temples. Yet perhaps 90 percent of the site remains underground and unseen. To finish the job could take decades. In all likelihood, the destruction of the Buddhist sites will begin later this year.
NYTimes: Chinese Mining Push Will Destroy an Ancient Afghanistan Buddhist City
One chart can speak volumes about politics, history, technology, and the human race.
“One of the most significant dishes in all countries along the Silk Road, from the Sea of Japan to Anatolia, is dumplings. Dumplings across Asia are tell-tale signs of a shared common past demonstrating drastic similarities. From the Turkish perspective, the origins of mantı have been long forgotten and the dish is regarded as quintessentially Turkish. However, almost all etymological references state that the origin of the word comes from the Chinese word man tou.”
How Forks Gave Us Overbites and Pots Saved the Toothless
Until around 250 years ago in the West, archaeological evidence suggests that most human beings had an edge-to-edge bite, similar to apes. In other words, our teeth were aligned liked a guillotine, with the top layer clashing against the bottom layer. Then, quite suddenly, this alignment of the jaw changed: We developed an overbite, which is still normal today. The top layer of teeth fits over the bottom layer like a lid on a box.
[…] What changed 250 years ago was the adoption of the knife and fork, which meant that we were cutting chewy food into small morsels before eating it. Previously, when eating something chewy such as meat, crusty bread or hard cheese, it would have been clamped between the jaws, then sliced with a knife or ripped with a hand — a style of eating Professor Brace has called “stuff-and-cut.”
The clincher is that the change is seen 900 years earlier in China, the reason being chopsticks.
Read more [via theatlantic, Image: flickr].
I love these bits of re-revelations.
The Met has a wonderful collection of Silk Road / Ghandaran sculptures that speaks to the cross-currents of intellectual exchange over the last 1000 years. From Hellenistic to Hindu to Buddhist influences, it’s a rich area for study, despite the tragic modern geo-political war games that already has destroyed so many artifacts.
I’m in love with Zack’s gorgeous new project: New York Moon. It uncovers such a referenced (but very lacking in coverage) topic: I’ve always been fascinated by things that are lost as we advance and hoard knowledge (?), facts (?) and cruft. Wax and wane.
The Moon explores topics of time and space, structures trapped beneath the city, translation, neighborhoods, the desert, water and nostalgia. Foremost in all works is a fearless embrace of the changing world that is accompanied by a fascination with our rapidly aging past. For there is no way to step boldly forward without examining the minutiae of our history.
Very excited to see what the editors have in the queue.
August 9, 1945 - The United States drops the bomb on the city of Nagasaki.
Woa. Thanks for this history reminder. FOTD.
“Scandalous as it may sound to the ears of Republicans schooled in Reaganomics, one critical measure of the health of a modern democracy is its ability to legitimately extract taxes from its own elites. The most dysfunctional societies in the developing world are those whose elites succeed either in legally exempting themselves from taxation, or in taking advantage of lax enforcement to evade them, thereby shifting the burden of public expenditure onto the rest of society.”
The unfortunate reality expected to plague NYC today - rain, wind, flooding and just simple, utter grossness. This timely image from 1875 comes from our Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs.
Good to see the fashion-conscious (heels) vs the practical (boots) still was a cultural tension for women back in 1875.