Saturday, October 07, 2006

I'm still not clear on the subject


Everyone including the The Toronto Star is all a-twitter over the sale on Friday of the Dundas Collection of Northwest Coast Indian art [use bugmenot if you don't want Sotheby's to pry into your life] apparently $1.8 million (US) for a mask gets you some serious headline action.

However, what all the articles I read missed were that Simon Carey had been trying to sell the collection since at least 1999. And what I found most interesting in this article was the information, that it was standard practice in the nineteeth century 'when West Coast natives converted to Christianity, it was the custom for them to renounce their native religion by giving their sacred objects to missionaries.' Isn't that similar to what the Nazi's did to the Jews? Although the Nazi's at least initially forced the Jews to sell their art and other possesions. So they were able to get at least some cash. The Tsimshian and other natives didn't even get a thin dime.

So why is the National Gallery giving back Nazi Looted art? And the Canadian Museum of Civilization buying Tsimshian art? Won't they just have to give it back in 50 years?

...And there's this article, by Tristan Stewart-Robertson in the Star that parallels my concerns.

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