Friday, April 01, 2005

Another Good Reason for private ownership of Antiquities

The article in Reason online titled Artifact: Idol Hour by Charles Paul Freund shows a picture of wooden statutes that have been restored after being damaged by the Taliban in 2001.
Part of a collection housed in the Kabul Museum, the wooden statues were badly damaged in 2001 on the orders of the Taliban regime. At the same time that the giant Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed, the contents of the museum were reduced to rubble. A weeklong orgy of destruction in the museum involved thousands of ancient artifacts. Some of these objects had long been in private collections but were returned to Afghanistan in the 1970s.[emphasis added]

The items had been safe in private collections, but in the museum they became easy targets for destruction by the fundamentalist regime of the Taliban. Many have likely been destroyed beyond repair.

Yet another reason why all antiquities should certainly not be housed in government museums where they can be easily targeted for destruction, not to mention theft or defacement.

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