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Is there a need for a world heritage artifacts list?

 
 
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Author Megalith
Partaker
#1 | Posted: 9 Sep 2008 11:15 
On my travels I have noticed that many of the worlds greatest cultural treasures are not buildings, landscapes or archaelogical sites; but are artifacts such as Tutankhamun's Death Mask, The Mona Lisa and Michelangelos David.

I think that these iconic artefacts are just as much in need of someform of listing as those sites upon the WHS list - I would be interested to hear other peoples views?

Steve

Author david
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 9 Sep 2008 11:42 
Steve, you are certainly right about this, I have always thought that there should be a list for the movable heritage, exactly as there is a list for the not movable heritage (WHL), for documents (Memory of the World), or for the intangible heritage.

Author m_m
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 9 Sep 2008 22:51 
yup, that's certainly true. problem here is the ownership of the movable heritage, like in the case of elgin marbles, the treasures of troy, the bust of nefertiti, chinese blue-and-white ceramics, etc. so there are legal issues involved.

the world heritage instrument does not really recognized movable heritage per se, like it the case of a british nomination for a ship back in the 1980s, or when it decided to not include the museums found in cerveteri and tarquinia world heritage site as part of the core zone. but if it's indelibly linked to the building/city which is being nominated, it could be an added value to the nomination, such as in the case of "the last supper" by da vinci.

Author david
Partaker
#4 | Posted: 10 Sep 2008 04:20 
The "Last Supper" is not considered by UNESCO a movable object simply because it is situated on a wall and a wall cannot be moved!

Author Megalith
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 10 Sep 2008 08:59 | Edited by: Megalith 
Firstly m_m, I am not talking of adding such artifacts directly to the current UNESCO list, but of the establishment of some kind of parralel listing system.

I can only agree that there may be legal issues involved with the ownership of some moveable artifacts. This problem has already arisen with the current inscribed list, notably in the case of the Old City of Jerusalem, which was propossed by Jordan. It should also be noted that in many cases (almost certainly the vast majority) ownership of such artifacts is not in dispute, and in these cases your objection would not apply.

Have you ever thought, that in the case of many sites, thoses involving city centres (ie Lima) and areas of widerness/scenic value (ie Amalfi Coast), it is highly unlikely that the entire site is owned by one individual? So what problems does this situation cause for the managment of current sites?

Next whilst no one would argue that WHS status gives 100% protection (witness the destruction of the Bamiyan Budhas, one must still ask would the USA have taken greater precautions to prevent the sacking of the Bagdhad Museum had it been known to contain UNESCO listed treasures?

Steve

Author m_m
Partaker
#6 | Posted: 11 Sep 2008 02:55 
obviously, i'm not referring to adding artifacts to the whs list... artifacts are not even sites in the first place and as i included before, whs list DOES NOT permit the listing of movable objects per se... in case it needs to explicitly stated, what i meant was a separate listing system for these artifacts...

as for the last supper, well, when it was nominated in 1979, there was a debate on whether it was movable or not... after all, the initial nomination was only titled "THE LAST SUPPER" BY LEONARDO DA VINCI, which just clearly refers to the painting... in 1980, it was listed, but only when the church and surrounding religious buildings were included as part of the nomination...

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 11 Sep 2008 03:51 | Edited by: Solivagant 
There is of course a grey dividing line between "artefacts" and "sites" since by definition all cultural sites contain "artefacts" - and some are solely AN artefact. It is I guess the placing of those artefacts which makes a "site". But, if humans can make it, then they can often "move" it - even if it wasn't intended to be moved.

I have been trying to find a (trivial) "connection" for inscribed sites (or significant parts of them) which have, in the past, been "moved" - NB I would suggest that the item must be inscribed now so eg the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum can't count even though they were an integral part of the Acropolis and have been "moved").

So far
a. Abu Simbel famously of course
b. The Axum Stela recently returned from Italy

Then I had problems! What about the Statue of Liberty? Well anything "constructed" has of course been "moved" in parts by definition so, by my rules, it would have been necessary for it to have been constructed and "on show" somewhere else first. It appears however that it was only ever constructed and displayed elsewhere in part.

I have also looked at various wooden buildings on the list (as being inherently "movable") - but they all seem to still be in their original locations. And what about the Bremen Roland - surely it has been moved at some time for "traffic reasons"! - but no evidence to date.

There is the "Cutty Sark" (or what remains of it after the fire) which is mentioned in the Greenwich inscription despite the SS Gt Britain failing to gain inscription in its own right some years earlier. Is it a true "part" of the site or just a museum piece like the artefacts in the Louvre? But the items in the Louvre, Hermitage etc don't get a specific mention in the relevant inscriptions so the Cutty Sark must be different in some way

Any other ideas??

Author m_m
Partaker
#8 | Posted: 11 Sep 2008 04:53 
let's see, the egyptian obelisks located around rome, and the chariot sculpture outside st mark's basilica in venice from constantinople... but these are quite "small" in value relative to these world heritage sites (i.e. the outstanding universal values of rome and venice do not rely solely on these movable artifacts, although in the case of abu simbel [and those monuments in philae], it is a more essential part of the world heritage value of the site). interestingly, in the case of venice and rome, the artifacts came from some other world heritage sites (any connection here?).

Author m_m
Partaker
#9 | Posted: 11 Sep 2008 04:58 | Edited by: m_m 
another interesting fact about abu simbel is that unesco was directly involved in the monument's relocation, even before the world heritage sites program was born. although technically unesco gets involved in all sites (in preparatory and technical assistance culminating in the listing), this situation stands out due to the level of publicity, manpower, financial resources and international cooperation involved, similar to the effort put forward by unesco in restoring the borobudur and angkor sites, even before they were nominated as world heritage sites. more recently, this could be applicable to mostar bridge, although the rebuilding was completed after its nomination was deferred by the committee. will it also be possible to have a connection here?

Author m_m
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 11 Sep 2008 05:15 
made some searches, and those world heritage sites with museums will of course include artifacts... movement from one whs to another includes priam's treasure from troy to museum island in berlin... although this only lasted until the end of wwII. note that museum island also includes the pergamom museum, containing monuments from babylon, a potential whs for iraq. there are also objects that were known to already be artifacts before they were moved, but there are also those that became "artifacts" only in the present time, owing to their antiquity (they may have been moved after construction), just like in the case of the statue of liberty. on a smaller scale, this can also include marian and christian sculptures and images from spain and portugal that were moved to the new world during colonial expansion, the most prominent would probably be the one from the guadalupe monastery in spain to mexico city's cathedral.

Author elsslots
Admin
#11 | Posted: 13 Sep 2008 06:24 
Solivagant:
inscribed sites (or significant parts of them) which have, in the past, been "moved"

The sphinx in Split? I saw it there last weekend, quite remarkable story (taken with him from Egypt by Diocletian himself, it is said to date from 1500 BC)

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#12 | Posted: 13 Sep 2008 09:31 
Do you know WHERE in Egypt it came from - if from a WHS then it would go to help make up a Connection suggested by m_m above.
"sites containing an artefact taken from another WHS"

I fear we do not yet have a true 3rd for my suggested connection of
"Inscribed sites (or significant parts thereof) which have been moved"

Author EnsignYoshi
Partaker
#13 | Posted: 14 Oct 2008 08:48 | Edited by: EnsignYoshi 
What about the terracottawarriors of Xi'an (part of the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor inscription). 14 of them are currently on display in Maaseik (Belgium). I assume all the statues are inscribed on the list, but what if they are temporarily (I assume) removed from their original location and go around the world on exhibitions. Does that maintain there status? I think it might be a bit of a special case, since they were declared world heritage before they got moved.

Author m_m
Partaker
#14 | Posted: 14 Oct 2008 22:25 
well, not pretty sure about that. the official name of the site is "mausoleum of the first qin emperor"... so as the name suggests, it encompasses not just the terracotta warriors but the related archaeological sites (i.e. the place itself where these were found), although the documentary information for such sites (inscribed before 1990s) are quite scant, so not sure which part of the place, if not the entire place itself, was actually declared a world heritage.

Author m_m
Partaker
#15 | Posted: 14 Oct 2008 22:33 | Edited by: m_m 
i had the chance to read the advisory body evaluation for the mausoleum of the first qin emperor and it indeed appears that the entire complex, not just the terracotta warriors, was declared a world heritage site. this means that the statues being toured around the world is not a world heritage site in itself (it's not even a site) but an artifact from a world heritage site. put it another way, it is a part of the world heritage site. interestingly, the citation for criteria i and iii of the nomination refer only to the collection of artifacts (the statues and associated objects found in situ) found in the site, and not the site itself.

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 Is there a need for a world heritage artifacts list?

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