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Maori Panels – New Zealand and Ortiz Heirs
In 1972, five rare Maori wooden panels were discovered in a swamp in New Zealand’s North Island. Shortly after the discovery, the panels were illegally exported out of the country by an antiquities dealer and then bought by Swiss collector George Ortiz. In 2014 New Zealand obtained the return of the Maori panels by virtue of an agreement with the heirs of Ortiz.
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Masque Makondé – Tanzanie et Musée Barbier-Mueller
En 2010, le Musée Barbier-Mueller fait don du Masque Makondé à la Tanzanie, et met ainsi fin à un litige qui aura duré plus de 20 ans. Le litige fut porté devant le Comité intergouvernemental de l’UNESCO. L’Office fédéral suisse de la culture (OFC) est aussi intervenu.
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Masque Nalindele – Zambie et Personne privée
En juin 1989 le Masque Nalindele est volé au Musée national de Livingston en Zambie. En 1996 un antiquaire l’acquière à Paris. Apprenant qu’il s’agit d’un objet volé, il décide de le restituer aux autorités belges que le restitueront par la suite à la Zambie.
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Mercedes Shipwreck – Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. v. Unidentified Shipwrecked Vessel
In 2007, Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. found a shipwreck of the Spanish Royal Navy Frigate Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, loaded with many tonnes of coins. Odyssey filed an in rem action in the United States federal court to get legal title to the shipwreck and the coins, but the court found that they did not have the jurisdiction to decide the case according to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. As a result, the Mercedes and its cargo were given over to the custody of Spain.
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Morgantina Goddess Statue – Italy and J. Paul Getty Museum
An ancient statue of a goddess, which was likely illegally excavated in the late 1970s in Italy, was purchased by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1988 for a record-setting US$18 million. That same year, Italian authorities began an investigation at the conclusion of which the Getty Museum agreed to consider returning the statue to Italy.
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Mosaïques de Kanakaria – Autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus et Chypre c. Goldberg
Quatre mosaïques sont volées dans l’Eglise chypriote du village de Lythrankomi. Une dizaine d’années plus tard, elles sont achetées par Goldberg, une commerçante d’art américaine. L’Eglise chypriote finit par apprendre le lieu où se trouvent les mosaïques et la personne en possession de celles-ci. Peu après, l’Eglise chypriote et la République de Chypre introduisent une action en justice auprès des tribunaux de l’Etat de l’Indiana aux Etats-Unis.
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Nedjemankh and His Gilded Coffin – Metropolitan Museum of Art and Egypt
The gilded Coffin of Nedjemankh, a priest of the ram-god Heryshef, was purchased in 2017 and exhibited in 2018 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Following an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, the Met learned that the Coffin had been looted in 2011, during the Egyptian revolution. It also learned that it had received upon its purchase a false ownership history, fraudulent statements and fake documentation, including a forged 1971 Egyptian export license for the coffin. As such, the Met unconditionally returned the coffin to the Government of Egypt.
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On the Shore of the Seine – United States of America v. Baltimore Museum of Art
In 1951, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s painting “On the shore of the Seine” was stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art in the United States. Over fifty years later, Marcia Fuqua bought this painting for US $7 at a flea market and tried to auction it off after learning of its value.
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Orpheus Mosaic – Turkey and Dallas Museum of Art
In December 2012, the Dallas Museum of Art returned to Turkey a fragment of a Roman mosaic. In addition, the parties concluded a comprehensive art exchange program.
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Parrot Lady Sculpture – Canada and India
“Parrot Lady” is a 800 year old sandstone sculpture from a Khajuraho temple in India. It was returned by Canada to India in 2015 in accordance with the 1970 UNESCO Convention.
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