Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Sunday, April 25, 2004

From the always excellent Art Newspaper:

Twenty-three Iraqi museum professionals on a US government-sponsored tour of American institutions came face to face last month [March] with a head missing from a statue in the collection of the National Museum in Baghdad. The tour was...designed to show Iraqi curators how American museums work. It was sponsored by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs...At the University of Pennsylvania Museum the Iraqis attended the opening of “Treasures from the royal tombs of Ur,” the university’s travelling show of Mesopotamian antiquities.
Associate curator Richard L. Zettler introduced the group to the museum’s activities. When he led the Iraqis to a storage room, they recognised a black diorite head of a Gudea figure whose body is in the National Museum in Baghdad....Mr Zettler told The Art Newspaper that the head was acquired in the late 1920s from a New York dealer. In 1935 the museum sent a cast of the head to the National Museum of Baghdad which Iraqi curators then placed on their statue...He also suggested that the two museums might one day share the statue for alternating displays.

Lets see the head is sitting in storage and might one day be shared?
Oh, so that's how American museums work.

Image: USDOS Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs

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