Diplomats all praise for rich Saudi heritage and culture

Updated 14 January 2013
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Diplomats all praise for rich Saudi heritage and culture

US Ambassador to the Kingdom James Smith, along with an accompanying delegation, recently visited the ongoing Exhibition of Salman bin Abdulaziz: Leadership in Architectural Heritage, currently being held at the National Museum at King Abdulaziz Historical Center in Riyadh.
He expressed his admiration of the show, describing it as a window for the Kingdom’s architectural heritage. He said the exhibition enables visitors to witness the Kingdom’s cultural richness and its civilizational depth.
Ambassador Smith said: “What we have seen of civilizational landmarks as reflected by the exhibition’s paintings, and replicas of architectural projects, confirms the continual building of civilization by the Saudi people. At the same time, it clearly demonstrates the intensive efforts of Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, in the service of heritage.”
He said that the crown prince enjoys deep insight in supporting the national heritage and paying attention to it, and his efforts in this area surpass local and regional arenas, and this is clear in his support of the “Saudi Archaeological Masterpieces exhibition,” which was recently inaugurated by Prince Sultan bin Salman, President of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), in Washington.
The US ambassador described the National Museum as a prominent civilizational landmark in the city of Riyadh, and said its contents confirm the Kingdom’s cultural and civilizational depth. Meanwhile, a delegation of the Chinese Embassy in the Kingdom headed by Chinese Cultural Attaché Lee Wudeh Chan, which recently visited the Prince Sultan exhibition, was also all praise for Saudi Arabia’s architecture and civilization. Chan said the exhibition emphasizes the great diversity and uniqueness of the architectural heritage of the Kingdom, and also reflects the genius of the Saudi people and their skills in the field of architectural heritage.


Ethiopia says British museum must permanently return its artIfacts

Updated 23 April 2018
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Ethiopia says British museum must permanently return its artIfacts

  • The artifacts were plundered by British troops from the fortress of Emperor Tewodros II 150 years ago
  • Among the items on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum are sacred manuscripts and gold 

ADDIS ABABA: Britain must permanently return all artIfacts from Ethiopia held by the Victoria and Albert Museum and Addis Ababa will not accept them on loan, an Ethiopian government official said.
The call comes after the museum, one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, put Ethiopian treasures plundered by British forces on display.
“Well, it would be exciting if the items held at the V&A could be part of a long-term loan with a cultural institution in Ethiopia,” museum director Tristram Hunt said.
“These items have never been on a long-term loan in Ethiopia, but as we look to the future I think what we’re interested in are partnerships around conservation, interpretation, heritage management, and these need to be supported by government assistance so that institutions like the V&A can support sister institutions in Ethiopia.”
Among the items on display are sacred manuscripts and gold taken from the Battle of Maqdala 150 years ago, when British troops ransacked the fortress of Emperor Tewodros II.
The offer of a loan did not go far enough for Ethiopia.
“What we have asked (for) was the restitution of our heritage, our Maqdala heritage, looted from Maqdala 150 years ago. We presented our request in 2007 and we are waiting for it,” said government minister Hirut Woldemariam said.
Ephrem Amare, Ethiopian National Museum director, added: “It is clearly known where these treasures came from and whom they belong to. Our main demand has never been to borrow them. Ethiopia’s demand has always been the restoration of those illegally looted treasures. Not to borrow them.”
The V&A could not immediately be reached for further comment on Monday.
In launching the Maqdala 1868 exhibition of what Hunt called “stunning pieces with a complex history” this month, he said the display had been organized in consultation with the Ethiopian community in London.
“As custodians of these Ethiopian treasures, we have a responsibility to celebrate the beauty of their craftsmanship, shine a light on their cultural and religious significance and reflect on their living meaning, while being open about how they came to Britain,” he said in a blog on the museum website.