Keeping Their Marbles
Description: softcover, 384 pages (21x13cm)
Tiffany Jenkins, Keeping Their Marbles, How the Treasures of the Past Ended Up in Museums - And Why They Should Stay There, Oxford 2018
The story of how some of the greatest treasures of world archaeology ended up in the musems of the West.
From the the Benin Bronzes to the Bust of Nefertiti, looks at the intriguing and sometimes bloody tale of how these objects were wrenched from their original context.
Argues controversially that these objects should remain where they are - in the museums of the West - and not be returned to the lands from which they came.
With a new introduction for the paperback, looking back on some of the controversies since the publication of Keeping Their Marbles.
The fabulous collections housed in the world's most famous museums are trophies from an imperial age. Yet the huge crowds that each year visit the British Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris, or the Metropolitan in New York have little idea that many of the objects on display were acquired by coercion or theft.
Now the countries from which these treasures came would like them back. The Greek demand for the return of the Elgin Marbles is the tip of an iceberg that includes claims for the Benin Bronzes from Nigeria, sculpture from Turkey, scrolls and porcelain taken from the Chinese Summer Palace, textiles from Peru, the bust of Nefertiti, Native American sacred objects, and Aboriginal human remains.
In Keeping Their Marbles, Tiffany Jenkins tells the bloody story of how western museums came to acquire these objects. She investigates why repatriation claims have soared in recent decades and demonstrates how it is the guilt and insecurity of the museums themselves that have stoked the demands for return. Contrary to the arguments of campaigners, she shows that sending artefacts back will not achieve the desired social change nor repair the wounds of history.
Instead, this ground-breaking book makes the case for museums as centres of knowledge, demonstrating that no object has a single home, and no one culture owns culture.