Mitteilungsblatt Nr. 28 (Sept. 1997)
STOCKHOLM, Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities
Stockholm, September 1997
The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (MFEA) would like to thank you for your support during the museum’s great crisis last autumn. The support from our colleagues and friends abroad was massive and did much to boast our courage in our struggle against the politicians. The many letters from abroad - 130 in all - also made a deep impact on the members of the Cultural Committee in the Swedish Parliament and certainly influenced the outcome of the battle. Thanks to the protests, the politicians were forced to make a compromise and even if the situation is still very unclear, it seems for the moment that we do have a hope of survival as an institution.
For your information, we will try to sum up the development of the museum debate till now, even though there remain quite a few moot points.
When the ministry of Culture made the suggestion of moving all Stockholm museums with non-European collections to the city of Gothenburg on the Swedish west coast, there were immediatly strong protests. Private persons as well as institutions both in Sweden and abroad immediately raised very strong objections against the bill. To move all museums with non-European collections from the capital was considered an outrage.
There were also arguments of financial nature against the proposal. A major objection was that the Cultural Ministry had forgotten to consider the costs of transport of the huge collections from one city to another - the funds for moving the three museums were simply not there.
When the case was heard in the Committee of Cultural Affairs in the Swedish Parliamnt, it thus became obvious that the proposal needed some adjustment. After negotiations, a majority in the Committee (i. e. eight Social Democrats and one member of the Leftist Party, the former communists) agreed on a so-called „compromise“ - a solution which all other parties strongly opposed. The „compromise“ proposal was voted through Parliament on December 19th. The wording in the resolution was very vague and difficult to interpret.
The compromise implied that the collections themselves should not be moved, but the four museums should be amalgamated into one administrative body, whose leadership should be in Gothenburg. A large, new museum - "The Central Museum of Ethnography" - was to be created in that city. As a concession to the public opinion, it was said that „a considerable part of the public activities in Stockholm“ should be maintained. The situation of the localities of the three Stockholm museums should, however, be „surveyed“. Nothing was said what would happen to the present staff, whether it would be moved to Gothenburg or stay in Stockholm. The resolution was also silent regarding whether the three museums would keep their individual profile in the future.
A chairman of the organization committee was appointed soon after the passing of the proposal. In late January, he resigned from the position, no reason has been given for his resignment. In February, a new chairman - this time a chairwoman - was appointed and soon afterwards the other members of the Committee and the experts were appointed by the Ministry of Culture. All members have strong ties to Gothenburg and/ or are members of the social Democratic Party or their two supporting parties (the Leftists and the Center Party). Since then a series of subcommittees has been appointed. All the committees are going to give their reports to the Cultural Committee of the Swedish Parliament during October.
Everything is still very unclear, but for the moment it seems that the collections of the three museums will not be moved from Stockholm, objects sent to Gothenburg will have the status of loans and depositions.
The great problem now seems to be the finances. The additional governmental funds for the new museum is not even sufficient to pay the rent of the future museum in Gothenburg. In addition comes the demand for extremely costly technical equipment which is said to become the trade mark of this museum. It the allowances of the three Stockholm museums, which are already on a very tight budget, also should be used for a new and expensive museum in Gothenburg, there is a danger that the funds for the three museums’ public activities will be insufficient, not to mention their scholarly activities. The Organization Committee therefore discusses the moving of the Stockholm museums inside the city, either the galleries or the storages or both, preferably to a low-rent suburb.
An objectionable feature in the Parliament resolution is the definition of the MFEA as an „ethnographic museum“. The MFEA is a museum of East Asian art and archaeology. It possesses worldfamous works by artists like Wang Meng, Dong Qichang, Bada Shanren, etc. To consider these works of art as objects of merely ethnographic interest is a disgrace to the great cultural tradition of East Asia. The MFEA is now part of the Swedish National Art Museums, an administrative body consisting of the National Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art and the MFEA. For the MFEA to keep its status as a museum of art and archaeology and not to become an ethnographic museum, it is imperative that this administrative affiliation is retained. The Board of the Swedish National Art Museums, its Director General and the director of the MFEA have in an address to the ministry of Culture emphasized that the MFEA is deeply rooted in the present organization and has very close connections with the National Museum.
Looking at the future profile of the new body of museums, it will be clearly socio-anthropological, the main focus will be on present-day immigration culture in Sweden. The collections of the MFEA do not fit into this new amalgamation, and the staff will continue its struggle for MFEA’s existence as an art museum, hoping that a growing respect for non-European cultures among Swedish politicians will convince the organization committee to keep up the present status of the MFEA and let it stay on its present premises as part of the organization of Swedish National Art Museums in Stockholm.
Your support in our struggle for survival has been deeply appreciated and we want once more to express our deep gratitude.
Der neue Kurator der Abteilung Asiatische Kunst des Rijksmuseum Amsterdam ist seit dem 1. März 1997 Herr Menno Fitski. Herr Fitski hat Japanologie in Leiden studiert und war zuvor am Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde in Leiden, am Kyushu Ceramic Museum in Arita und am Ashmolean Museum in Oxford tätig.
Professor Roger Goepper, der von 1966 bis 1990 das Kölner Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst leitete, erhält den Preis der Japan-Foundation 1997. Die mit umgerechnet siebzigtausend Mark dotierte Auszeichnung wird seit 1973 järlich an Persönlichkeiten verliehen, die sich um die Verbreitung der japanischen Kultur im Ausland verdient gemacht haben. Gewürdigt werden insbesondere die Leistungen Goeppers als Kurator von mehreren großen Ausstellungen, wie er sie 1975 zur Geschichte der Kalligraphie vom siebten bis zum neunzehnten Jahrhundert und 1988 zur Kunst des Buddhismus organisiert hat. Der Preis wird am 7. Oktober in Tokio überreicht, wo Goepper auch vom japanischen Kaiser empfangen wird. (Nachricht in der FAZ vom 11.9.97)
Frau Dr. habil. Burglind Jungmann, Universität Heildelberg, hat das Heisenberg-Stipendium (drei Jahre) der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft erhalten.
20jähriges Dienstjubiläum von Professor Lothar Ledderose
am Kunsthistorischen Institut der Universität Heidelberg
Wir veröffentlichen an dieser Stelle eine überarbeitete Liste von Restauratoren, die sich auf die Restaurierung ostasiatischer Kunstwerke spezialisiert haben. Sie ist keinesfalls komplett oder stellt gar eine Empfehlung unsererseits dar; es handelt sich lediglich um die Weitergabe von Informationen, die uns die betreffenden Restauratoren freundlicherweise von sich aus zukommen ließen. Es wäre schön, wenn noch weitere Restauratoren sich entschließen könnten, uns ihre Angaben zu schicken, damit wir in kommenden Ausgaben unseren Lesern eine vollständigere und informativere Liste anbieten könnten.
Büro und Werkstatt Seoul: