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 component of monetary achieve. certainly, “who owns antiquity?” is a contentious query in lots of of today’s foreign conflicts.
About Antiquities deals an interdisciplinary learn 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 previous in London, Paris, Berlin, and ny. She compares and contrasts the reviews of 2 museums—Istanbul’s Imperial Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art—that aspired to emulate eu collections and achieve the status and tool of possessing the fabric fragments of historic heritage. Going past associations, Çelik additionally unravels the complex 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, fairly these of the excavation employees whose voices have by no means been heard, About Antiquities presents very important old 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
Opened in 1793 as the centralized art collection of the French nation, it was built of the royal art collections and those appropriated from the various palaces, churches, and monasteries after the revolution. 4). Nevertheless, immense and imposing in its academic architecture, it is one of the most outstanding monuments of Paris and a key feature of the urban image, due to its long façade visible from the River Seine and along the rue de Rivoli and as the vista of the Tuileries Garden. The Place du Louvre to the east, the Place du Palais Royal to the north, the embankment along the Seine (formerly the Quai du Louvre, now the 26 ◆ About Antiquiti e s Figure 1.
56 By the 1820s, the Montagu House could not accommodate the collection, and in 1823 a new building was commissioned, to be designed by the architect Robert Smirke, whose classical revivalist style was also pursued by his brother, Sydney Smirke, who completed the building in 1852. Other nineteenth-century additions were the Reading Room (1857) and the White Wing on the southeast side (1879). Two public squares, Russell Square on the northeast and Bedford Square on the southwest, accommodated the visitors, the latter allowing for an unobstructed view of one façade of the museum.
Berlin’s experiment in creating its central museums followed a different path than those of Paris and London. 6). The Museum Island 28 ◆ Ab out Ant iquiti e s Figure 1. 5 The British Museum, site plan showing the urban context. In the midst of a dense fabric, the British Museum benefits from the presence of Bedford Square and Russell Square, two open public spaces in its immediate vicinity. (Baedeker, London and Its Environs, 1911) was developed on a piece of land between the two branches of the Spree River, with open spaces between the various buildings.