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Diplomatic channel/ voie diplomatique

14 Archaeological Objects – Italy and Cleveland Museum of Art

14 Archaeological Objects – Italy and Cleveland Museum of Art

On 19 November 2008, the Italian Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities and the Cleveland Museum of Art signed an agreement concerning 14 archaeological objects in the museum’s collection. This agreement provides for the return to Italy of the artworks in exchange for loans of “a similar number of works of equal aesthetic and historical significance”.

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15 Archaeological Objects – Italy and Princeton University Art Museum

15 Archaeological Objects – Italy and Princeton University Art Museum

The Italian Government and the Princeton University Art Museum signed an agreement on 30 October 2007 that resolved the question of ownership of 15 archaeological objects in the Museum’s collection. This accord was the culmination of negotiations that were initiated by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities following the discovery of substantial evidence demonstrating the illicit provenance of the requested antiquities.

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Afo-A-Kom – Furman Gallery and Kom people

Afo-A-Kom – Furman Gallery and Kom people

The Afo-A-Kom is a wooden sculpture sacred to the Kom people, a tribal population of Cameroon. In 1966, it was stolen and subsequently sold to a New York art dealer.

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Balangiga Bells – Philippines and United States

Balangiga Bells –  Philippines and United States

The Balangiga Bells were removed in 1901 from the parish church of San Lorenzo de Martir in Balangiga, Eastern Samar, in the Philippines, by soldiers of the United States Armed Forces. The three bells returned to the Philippines in 2018 following the amendment of the law of the United States that originally prevented their return.

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Baldin Collection – Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany and State Hermitage Museum Russia

Baldin Collection – Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany and State Hermitage Museum Russia

In the aftermath of the Second World War, the Soviet Army Captain Victor Baldin brought to Moscow many artworks of the collection of the Kunsthalle Bremen (Bremen Art Museum). The dispute for the restitution of the so-called “Baldin Collection” is ongoing and has grown to one of the most debated cases between Germany and Russia.

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Bélier Malien – France, Jacques Chirac et Mali

Bélier Malien – France, Jacques Chirac et Mali

En novembre 1996, le Président de la République Française Jacques Chirac reçoit en cadeau un quadrupède en terre cuite aux formes massives et stylisées. L’objet, qui provenait d’un site pillé au Mali, sera restitué sous forme de don après négociations en janvier 1998.

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Buste de Diane – Pologne et Auktionshaus im Kinsky

Buste de Diane – Pologne et Auktionshaus im Kinsky

En juin 2015, le Ministère de la culture polonais apprend qu’un buste de Diane, spolié durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale et disparu depuis, va prochainement être vendu à Vienne par la maison de vente Auktionshaus im Kinsky. Le Ministère contacte alors la société Art Recovery International. Avec l’aide de cette dernière et de l’Ambassadeur ainsi que du Consul général de Pologne en Autriche, le buste est restitué à la Pologne le 18 décembre 2015.

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Chasuble – Paraguay et Musée d’ethnographie de Neuchâtel et François Machon

Chasuble – Paraguay et Musée d’ethnographie de Neuchâtel et François Machon

En 1889, le Musée d’ethnographie de Neuchâtel (MEN) reçoit en don une chasuble probablement spoliée au Paraguay pendant la guerre de la Triple Alliance (1864-1870). En 1926, le médecin neuchâtelois François Machon, alors Consul du Paraguay à Lausanne, propose au MEN le retour de la chasuble en échange du don de sa collection ethnographique, ce que le MEN accepte.

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Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rascal – Gentili di Giuseppe Heirs v. Italy

Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rascal – Gentili di Giuseppe Heirs v. Italy

In 1941, the painting “Christ Carrying the Cross Dragged by a Rascal” by Girolamo Romanino was confiscated by Nazi-controlled French authorities from Federico Gentili di Giuseppe – an Italian of Jewish descent living in Paris – and then sold at auction.

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Cloche de Shinagawa – Ville de Genève et Temple de Shinagawa

Cloche de Shinagawa –  Ville de Genève et Temple de Shinagawa

En 1930, la Ville de Genève décide de restituer une cloche du XVIIème siècle au Temple de Shinagawa (Japon), son lieu d’origine. En échange, le Temple cède une lanterne en granit de forme Zendoji. En 1991, le Temple cède à Genève une réplique de la cloche en signe de reconnaissance.

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Dancing Shiva Statue – India and National Gallery of Australia

Dancing Shiva Statue – India and National Gallery of Australia

In 2006, New York art dealer Subhash Kapoor arranged the theft and illegal exportation of a 900-year old bronze statue of the Dancing Shiva from a small temple in Southern India. In 2008, the National Gallery of Australia bought the statue for AUD$5.6 million.

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Durga Idol – India and Germany

Durga Idol – India and Germany

In the 1990s, a 10th century idol representing the Indian Goddess Durga was reported as stolen from a temple in Tengpora, Pulwana in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. The idol was found at the Linden Museum in Stuttgart in 2012. After presenting the evidence of its provenance, the idol was returned to India on “ethical grounds”.

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Euphronios Krater and Other Archaeological Objects – Italy and Metropolitan Museum of Art

Euphronios Krater and Other Archaeological Objects – Italy and Metropolitan Museum of Art

In February 2006, the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) of New York entered into a landmark agreement with which the ownership title to the Euphronios Krater and other archaeological artefacts was transferred to the Italian Government.

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Great Zimbabwe Bird – Zimbabwe and Prussia Cultural Heritage Foundation, Germany

Great Zimbabwe Bird – Zimbabwe and Prussia Cultural Heritage Foundation, Germany

The lower half of a stone bird discovered in Zimbabwe under dubious circumstances was bought by the Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin around 1907. During the Second World War, the stone was removed by the Russian Army. After the fall of the Soviet Union, it was returned to the Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin. In 2000, the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation – which managed the collection of this museum – under the pressure of the German federal government finally returned the fragment of the stone bird to Zimbabwe under the terms of a permanent loan.

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Hopi Masks – Hopi Tribe v. Néret-Minet and Estimations & Ventes aux Enchères

Hopi Masks – Hopi Tribe v. Néret-Minet and Estimations & Ventes aux Enchères

Between 2013 and 2014, dozens of Hopi’s sacred objects were sold at auctions in Paris despite strong protests and legal actions launched by the Hopi tribe. These actions were unsuccessful because French judicial authorities denied legal standing to the Hopis and considered that the sales did not violate French law.

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Inakayal Human Remains – Argentina, Museo de La Plata and Tehuelche People

Inakayal Human Remains – Argentina, Museo de La Plata and Tehuelche People

Inakayal was a leader of the Tehuelche people, a native tribe of Patagonia (Argentina). In 1884, he was captured by the Argentinian army. After his death in 1888 his remains became part of the collection of the Museo de La Plata.

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Machu Picchu Collection – Peru and Yale University

Machu Picchu Collection –  Peru and Yale University

Between 1912 and 1916, Hiram Bingham, a history professor at Yale University, shipped to the United States several artefacts that had been excavated at the Machu Picchu site with the authorization of the Peruvian Government. Peru formally requested restitution in 1918 and 1920, but to no avail. In 2001, negotiations between Peru and Yale University resumed. However, the resulting accord discontented the Peruvian Government. As a result, Peru filed suit in the United States against Yale University seeking the return of the collection and damages.

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Mandat signé par Jean Calvin - République et canton de Genève et Sotheby's

Mandat signé par Jean Calvin - République et canton de Genève et Sotheby's

En novembre 2016, il est porté à la connaissance de l’archiviste d’État de Genève qu’un document datant du XVIe siècle et volé probablement au XIXe siècle figure sur le catalogue de la prochaine vente aux enchères de Sotheby’s à New York. Un accord d’indemnisation est signé le 1er septembre 2017 entre Sotheby’s, le possesseur et deux intervenants privés. Le même jour, un accord distinct de restitution est signé entre la République et canton de Genève, Sotheby’s et le possesseur.

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Marienkirche Window Panels – Germany and Russia, State Hermitage Museum, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

Marienkirche Window Panels – Germany and Russia, State Hermitage Museum, Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

In 1997, 111 panels originally forming a window of the St. Marienkirche (St Mary Church) in Frankfurt-on-the-Oder were located in the Russian State Hermitage Museum. They were brought to Russia by Soviet troops following World War II. In 2001, after difficult negotiations, Russia agreed to return the panels to Germany. In exchange, the German Government offered to finance the reconstruction of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Dormition of the Mother of God located near Novgorod. A second group of 6 panels found in 2005 in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts was returned to Germany in 2008.

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Obélisque d’Axoum – Italie et Ethiopie

Obélisque d’Axoum – Italie et Ethiopie

En 1937, Mussolini ordonne l’enlèvement de l’obélisque d’Axoum et son transport en Italie. Il faudra attendre 2007 pour que l’obélisque retrouve le site d’Axoum.

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