Global Encyclopedia of Territorial Rights

Living Edition
| Editors: Michael Kocsis

Cultural Heritage and Territorial Rights

Living reference work entry



Culturally significant objects, particularly those produced or possessed within a territory in former times.


Among the functions which national borders can serve is the control of cultural artifacts. Italy, for example, has restricted the export of any book printed before 1965 (Pregliasco 2015). In the United Kingdom, a comparatively liberal regime rarely bans exports outright, but routinely delays them in hope that a domestic buyer will step in to “save” an item “for the nation.” (See Arts Council England (n.d.) for details of the reviewing process.)

Moreover, objects may become subject to claims that they legally or morally ought to be “repatriated” to the territories in which they were made or previously owned. The usual legal watershed for claims of this sort is the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDurham UniversityDerbyUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Nick C. Sagos
    • 1
  1. 1.Humanities / Liberal ArtsSeneca CollegeTorontoCanada