Monday, October 3, 2011

Weary Herakles

I love a fulfilling story, which is not quite the same as a happy ending, but similar, so I had to smile when I saw Weary Herakles hit the news again. His two halves can never be made one again, but at least they're together.

Traditionally, a Weary Herakles looks weary because he's leaning on his club. I think this particular example can cite his travels as a relevant contribution to his 'weary'.  You see, the bust went globetrotting, while the lower half waited patiently in Antalya. Missing it's head. For years.

It all began when...

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston acquired a half-interest in the sculpture from a German dealer in 1981, with an unverifiable provenance: The dealer's mother acquired it in 1950 from a private collection.

In 1990, the bust went on loan to The Metropolitan Museum in New York, where someone noted the possibility of a matching lower half in Antalya.

Casts were made in 1992 and the finding was confirmed. Turkey put in it's claim.

On September 25, 2011, the bust finally went home to Antalya.

It's not hard for me to imagine how this happened.

I was in Perge, where the statue was unearthed, in 1993? (I think that's when I was there.) I wandered around the ruins, peasant women in tow. They were trying to sell me hand crocheted lace, chamomile wreaths (bought one of those), anything a cottage industry could come up with....and I stepped in cow poop. Yeah. Lets just say the security was less than tight.

Monty Python moment:

Guard One: That cow looks unusually large.
Large wooden cow freezes in place. Drops a pile of poop for an unsuspecting tourist to discover.
Guard Two: Shrugs. There was a casting call for some new movie about Troy. You going?
Guard One: Nah. I heard someone loses his head.
Cow hobbles off into the night.

I'm very clever, aren't I? :D

Still, when purchasing antiquities, one should ask: Does the provenance feel right? Or did some author plant that phrase so readers can conveniently know what they need to know?

Sorry. How did this post get over to my manuscript?

Going to remove some "conveniences" from my ms now. See you on Wednesday.

Related Articles:
Weary Herakles Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Heracles finally returning to its homeland Hurriyet Daily News
Boston Museum Returns Bust to Turkey NY Times
White-Levy Weary Herakles Signed to Turkey Looting Matters


Sarah said...

Haha--this was a pretty fascinating peek into your thought processes, Carolyn! I completely agree with you about overly convenient information/actions--it's hard to weave stuff in, and often easy to pick up when it's shoehorned (unless you're the author, as it's hard to keep that kind of perspective). Good luck with rooting those out!

Old Kitty said...

I'm lost as to what's your ms and what's real! LOL!! Well done you!!!

Glad the two halves are together now! Yay! Take care

Carolyn V said...

That is so cool. I can't believe they were separated for so long!

KatOwens: Insect Collector said...

Poor Herakles! Weary indeed.

Golden Eagle said...

I'm glad the halves were reunited!

LTM said...

first of all, that latter digression totally cracked me up! Cow poop! :D I would love that cammomile wreath, though... And this Herakles story is so bizarre! So one person had half, and the other had the other half for all that time?

Who would want the bottom half of a statue?! :D you tell the funniest stories~ <3 said...

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