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Alexander O




Location: Southern Germany
Joined: 14 May 2020

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat 13 Feb, 2021 9:39 am    Post subject: Royal Armouries MS. I.33         Reply with quote

I've been reading a little bit on the above mentioned fencing treatise, which I'm sure everybody knows. It is an important piece of art, the oldest (known) surviving treatise and beautifully illustrated (one of its scenes has been my background for 3-4 years now). I always kinda wondered why it is residing in the Royal Armouries and not somewhere in Germany.
As far as I understand it now, it was looted during WW II, sold at auction and kept in the tower of London until it ended up in the Royal Armouries.

I don't know where to go with this thread, but....give it back maybe?
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Johannes Zenker





Joined: 15 Sep 2014

Posts: 128

PostPosted: Sun 14 Feb, 2021 2:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would say "we lost it fair and square".

What European museums would look like if they gave everything back that wasn't gifted to them by the item's originating culture is a meme at this point.
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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

Posts: 375

PostPosted: Wed 17 Feb, 2021 5:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think as long as it's well preserved then it should be fine, other than that I think it's because no one on the German side said anything about it.
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Tyler C.




Location: Canada
Joined: 20 Aug 2019
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 122

PostPosted: Fri 19 Feb, 2021 7:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johannes Zenker wrote:
I would say "we lost it fair and square".

What European museums would look like if they gave everything back that wasn't gifted to them by the item's originating culture is a meme at this point.


I had a discussion about this topic with my wife just a couple of weeks ago. It seems to be a trend to give things back these days. Perhaps in some special cases it makes sense, but museums would be pretty dull if everything that didn't come from the local area was returned. Also, it is often the case that the current location of an object is part of history. My personal feeling is that objects should largely remain in collections to preserve this history and provide variety.

In Alberta where I live there is very little physical history but luckily the local museum has a decent collection of arms, armor and artifacts from around the world. I love that I can go with my son and see artifacts from around the world without having to travel the world. Here are a couple pictures from my last visit just for kicks. Note: Their collection is much broader than these images suggest. I only took a few pictures.



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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
Likes: 5 pages

Posts: 828

PostPosted: Tue 23 Feb, 2021 10:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tyler C. wrote:
I had a discussion about this topic with my wife just a couple of weeks ago. It seems to be a trend to give things back these days. Perhaps in some special cases it makes sense, but museums would be pretty dull if everything that didn't come from the local area was returned. Also, it is often the case that the current location of an object is part of history. My personal feeling is that objects should largely remain in collections to preserve this history and provide variety.


I agree with this sentiment in general.

Also, what is often unknown by the general public, many museums have way more artifacts than they can ever display. I would prefer it if a certain artifact would be shown on display somewhere in the world rather than having it in storage locally.

So yeah, if there are some special pieces which are highly desired and specifically requested by the original culture's / country's government, then I'd say give it back. But if they are fairly generic objects (which does not mean they can't look fantastic), then much better to leave them in the museum they currently happen to reside in.

And then there is the question of private collections and the global antique trade, including the illegal part of that.
As Indiana Jones once said, "It belongs in a museum!" Big Grin But also that to a certain extent. Again, the storages are full of less-than-spectacular pieces and/or pieces with dubious lineage of authenticity.

With regards to the I.33 specifically, books are notoriously difficult to display, but fortunately they are relatively easy to reproduce, including digitally. Anyone interested in the I.33 can buy the facsimile copy, and if they are really interested then they can go to England and request scholarly access.

A different case would be the Horten XI / Go. 229 "flying wing" prototype which is being very, very slowly restored in the (US) National Air and Space Museum. This is something I would really like to see, and if a German museum happened to have more capability to speed up the restoration work so it can be displayed, then I'd be all for that.
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