Reference Entry

Restitution

Noémie Goldman and Kim Oosterlinck

in Oxford Art Online


Published online May 2015 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T2277663

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  • Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections
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Term for the return of lost or looted cultural objects to their country of origin, former owners, or their heirs. The loss of the object may happen in a variety of contexts (armed conflicts, war, colonialism, imperialism, or genocide), and the nature of the looted cultural objects may also vary, ranging from artworks, such as paintings and sculptures, to human remains, books, manuscripts, and religious artefacts. An essential part of the process of restitution is the seemingly unavoidable conflict around the transfer of the objects in question from the current to the former owners. Ownership disputes of this nature raise legal, ethical, and diplomatic issues. The heightened tensions in the process arise because the looting of cultural objects challenges, if not breaks down, relationships between peoples, territories, cultures, and heritages.

The history of plundering and art imperialism may be traced back to ancient times. Looting has been documented in many instances from the sack by the Romans of the Etruscan city of Veii in ...

Reference Entry.  3268 words. 

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Forgery, Falsification, and Theft of Artworks ; Financial Aspects of Art ; African Art (Sub-Saharan) ; Art of the United States ; Greek and Roman Art ; Latin American and Caribbean Art ; Industrial and Commercial Art ; South and Southeast Asian Art ; Jewish Art ; 20th-Century Art ; Art of the Middle East and North Africa ; East Asian Art

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