Antiquities


Antiquities

Antiquities, nearly always used in the plural in this sense, is a term for objects from Antiquity, especially the civilizations of the Mediterranean: the Classical antiquity of Greece and Rome, Ancient Egypt and the other Ancient Near Eastern cultures. Artifacts from earlier periods such as the Mesolithic, and other civilizations from Asia and elsewhere may also be covered by the term.

Definition

The definition of the term is not always precise, and institutional definitions such as museum "Departments of Antiquities" often cover later periods, but in normal usage Gothic objects, for example, would not now be described as antiquities, though in 1700 they might well have been, as the cut-off date for antiquities has tended to retreat since the word was first found in English in 1513. [OED] Non-artistic artifacts are now less likely to be called antiquities than in earlier periods. Francis Bacon wrote in 1605: "Antiquities are history defaced, or some remnants of history which have casually escaped the shipwreck of time". [OED]

The art trade reflects modern usage of the term; Christie's "Department of Antiquities" covers objects "from the dawn of civilization to the Dark Ages, ranging from Western Europe to the Caspian Sea, embracing the cultures of Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Near East." [http://www.christies.com/departments/ant/overview.asp] . Bonhams use a similar definition: "...4000 B.C to the 12th Century A.D. Geographically they originate from Egypt, the Near East and Europe ..." [http://www.bonhams.com/cgi-bin/public.sh/pubweb/publicSite.r?sContinent=usa&Screen=antiquities] Official cut-off dates are often later, being unconcerned with precise divisions of art history, and using the term for all historical periods they wish to protect: in Jordan it is 1750, [ [http://conference.legadoandalusi.es/en/doa1.htm "Department of Antiquities of Jordan" website] ] in Hong Kong 1800, and so on.

The term is no longer much used in formal academic discussion, because of this imprecision. Most, but not all, antiquities have been recovered by archaeology. There is little or no overlap with antiques, which covers objects, not generally discovered as a result of archaeology, at most about three hundred years old, and usually far less.

Illegal trade

The export of antiquities is now heavily controlled by law in almost all countries and by the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, [ [http://www.savingantiquities.org/heritagetreaties.php#Unesco1970 "Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property"] ] but a large trade in Illicit antiquities has resulted. The Sevso Treasure and the Euphronios krater are apparent examples that have come to light, and Getty Museum Director of Antiquities Marion True was convicted by an Italian court in 2004 for trading illegally in them. Forgers have long been active in the field, as the Etruscan terracotta warriors, the Persian Princess and the Getty kouros show.

Antiquary

An antiquary was originally someone concerned with antiquities, and John Leland was appointed the "King's Antiquary" by Henry VIII, but in modern usage the term is mostly associated with antiquarian books - a category even less precisely defined than antiquities.

ee also

*Ancient art
*Japanese cultural artifacts controversy
*Antiquities Act of 1906 - US
*Israel Antiquities Authority
*Supreme Council of Antiquities - Egypt
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References


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Antiquities — Antiquity An*tiq ui*ty, n.; pl. {Antiquities}. [L. antiquitas, fr. antiquus: cf. F. antiquit[ e]. See {Antique}.] 1. The quality of being ancient; ancientness; great age; as, a statue of remarkable antiquity; a family of great antiquity. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • antiquities — noun A written account of history …   Wiktionary

  • antiquities — an·tiq·ui·ty || æn tɪkwÉ™tɪ n. ancient times, former ages; oldness, state of being ancient …   English contemporary dictionary

  • antiquities — an object or building from the distant past. → antiquity …   English new terms dictionary

  • Antiquities trade — is the trade in historical artifacts from around the world. This trade may be illicit or completely legal. The illicit antiquities trade involves non scientific extraction that ignores the archaeological and anthropological context from which the …   Wikipedia

  • Antiquities and Monuments Office — (zh cp|c=古物古蹟辦事處|p=Gǔwù Gǔjī Bànshìchù) was established when the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance was enforced in 1976 which to be preserve Hong Kong s monuments are under appropriate protection. Its head office is now housed in Former Kowloon …   Wikipedia

  • Antiquities of the Jews — ( Antiquitates Judaicae in Latin) was a work published by the importantStephen L. Harris, Understanding the Bible , (Palo Alto: Mayfield, 1985).] Jewish historian Flavius Josephus about the year 93 or 94. Antiquities of the Jews is a history of… …   Wikipedia

  • Antiquities, Biblical — • Details domestic, political, and sacred antiquities Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Antiquities Act — Devils Tower, the first National Monument The Antiquities Act of 1906, officially An Act for the Preservation of American Antiquities (16 USC 431–433), is an act passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt on… …   Wikipedia

  • Antiquities Advisory Board — The Antiquities Advisory Board is a statutory body [ [http://www.amo.gov.hk/en/antiquities.php Leisure and Cultural Services Department Antiquities and Monuments Office ] ] of the Government of Hong Kong created in 1976 to evaluate old buildings… …   Wikipedia


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