The Dialectic of Law and Infringement

Wendy M. K. Shaw

in Possessors and Possessed

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780520233355
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520928565 | DOI:
The Dialectic of Law and Infringement

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This chapter examines the dialectic of law and infringement in relation to Ottoman museums. It explains that under Osman Hamdi, the museum functioned not only as an ideological bridge between European and Ottoman heritage, but also served as a battle ground for possession of the physical elements of that heritage. The chapter argues that the politics of the successive acts of legislation which treated antiquities as a cultural commodity suggest that the museum served as a locus of tension between Europeans who sought antiquities, an Ottoman intellectual elite who fostered the museum, and the sultan who was technically the sole owner of the collection.

Keywords: Ottoman museums; law; infringement; Osman Hamdi; ideological bridge; legislation; cultural commodity

Chapter.  9287 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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