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Greece withdraws two sculptures from a visiting exhibition of the Olympic Games in Qatar

24 April 2013 / 13:04:01  GRReporter
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The Greek Ministry of Culture has withdrawn two ancient Greek sculptures from an exhibition entitled "Olympic Games: Past - Present" that is visiting Qatar. The reason for this was the intention of the Qataris to cover the nude figures in black mantles similar to the chador that the women in the Arab emirate wear.

The exhibition was opened at the Museum of the Olympic Games and Sports in Doha on 28 March. Two marble sculptures - of a Kouros (a young man – author’s note) from the sanctuary of Apollo Ptoos in the area of Viotia and of a young athlete from Elefsina are nude. The exposed genitals were considered  desecration of the strict morals in the emirate, the main argument being that women too would see them. Therefore, the organizers of the exhibition in Qatar decided to offer the Greek archaeologists who accompanied the exhibits several options for solving this problem.

The first proposal, which the archaeologists rejected pretty quickly, mostly because of its comic nature was the chador. The second option was to hide the sculptures behind a screen. It was considered more appropriate and was used immediately. Deputy Minister of Culture Kostas Tzavaras found the two sculptures in this state and ordered their return to Greece.

The two sculptures were returned to Athens on 19 April and they have already taken their place at the National Archaeological Museum.

It is worth noting that more than 600 ancient monuments are exhibited in Qatar, the majority of them being Greek. Western societies are accustomed to exposure to nudity, especially when it comes to artwork. Apparently, the manners in the Middle East are much more conservative and it is quite normal for the visitors to comply with them.

According to commentators, the content of the negotiations between Greece and Qatar is not clear but in all cases, the right decision was to immediately withdraw the two sculptures, not allowing them to be presented in a derogatory manner.

The exhibition is composed of two parts and the second one is devoted to the modern Olympic Games. Before leaving for Doha, the ancient exhibits were presented at the Martin-Gropius-Bau museum in Berlin, where they enjoyed remarkable success. After this presentation, the German press criticized the position of Qatar for presenting them in an unreal and idyllic way.

It is worth noting that the capital of Qatar – Doha, is among the cities applying to host the summer Olympics in 2020.

Tags: NewsOlympic gamesExhibitionDohaNute statues
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