Cultural heritage may be defined as that legacy of the physical artifacts as well as intangible attributes of a given group or a society, which is usually inherited from the previous generations, preserve in the present time, and bestowed mainly for the benefits of the future generations. Some of the tangible cultural heritage may include items such as sculptures, coins, monuments, shipwrecks, archeological sites, underwater cities and ruins, paintings and manuscripts. Intangible cultural heritage may include rituals, performing arts, music, festivals, dances, carnivals, falconry, tango, Chinese shadow puppetry, Mediterranean diet, kabuki theatre, and oral traditions. Moreover, it can include the natural environment, cultural landscapes, biological, geographical, and physical formations. It is evident that the concept of cultural heritage is very wide than anybody can ever think about. This implies that cultural heritage has progressively grown to the extent of including all the evidences of human creativity and their expressions like documents, photographs, instruments, and books among other crucial evidences. These evidences are introduced in either the form of individual works orcollection of various pieces from various artists (Khan Academy).
There is a great importance for people to conserve and even preserve their cultural inheritance with much care since it plays a vital role in their lives. Cultural heritage mainly enables the society to maintain important memories as well as oblivious. Moreover, it provides the society with a sense of belonging and direction in fields such as human identity, political and cultural areas. Every individual in the society plays a vital part in the contribution of world’s culture and thus one has the role of protecting as well as respecting and safeguarding these cultural heritages through establishing national laws and the international treaties aimed at refraining strangers from stealing such valuable cultural inheritances from original owners. Cases of illicit artifacts and cultural objects trafficking are more likely to take place if the society allows strangers to steal it. Some nations have even gone to the extent of destroying the society’s historic buildings, archaeological sites and other cultural heritage. However, the founding of the UNESCO in the year 1954, adopted international agreements especially on the protection of these cultural heritages of any country. Evidently, protection of such property has experienced many problems especially on the olden days where these organizations were unavailable.
Getty Museum purchased a sculpture of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, which was excavated from Sicily illegally. This museum in the U.S.is known for their illicit art trade as well as looting several societies’ cultural heritages. Subsequent to such behavior, the antiquity of the artifacts are being overpowered since they disinherit the rightful owner, who would at least learn key issues that were practiced in the society during the olden days. Even though Getty Museum has managed to establish and even, develop some of the most imperative antiquities collection across the globe. It is obvious that the trafficking of these collections is made successful with the assistance of patrons, grave robbers, wealthy collectors, and the involvement of world’s top museums. However, these illicit antiquities trade will always be considered as the dirtiest corner of the respected art market.
These cultural heritages illegally acquired should be sent to their original places since they portray more values while there than in foreign lands (Hoffman 50). Moreover, if they are returned into their rightful places, they will enable the respective societies to preserve their cultures, traditions, and memories of the olden days effectively. It will also assist the future generation to learn more about their ancestors, as well as their behaviors.
Hoffman, Barbara T. Art and Cultural Heritage: Law, Policy, and Practice. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2006. Print.
Khan Academy. What is Cultural Heritage?. Web. 26 February 2013. Accessed from