Culture

People arrive to watch the actress Zsofia Szamosi perform in the play Pali at the Jozsef Katona Theater in Budapest on Jan. 18, 2019.

Orban’s Macbeth

The tragic figure behind the Hungarian populist leader’s efforts to remake his country’s theater.

Carved ivory polyhedra by Egidius Lobenigk (left) and Georg Wecker from the 16th century, part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden collection in Germany.

A World in Counterfeit

After they mastered their territories, rulers wanted to master crafts, too.

People buy tickets for Disney’s Mulan at a cinema inside a shopping mall in Bangkok on Sept. 8.

Artists of the World, Unite

Only by standing firm against China together can makers escape global cultural paralysis.

Hundreds of thousands of historical artworks from Africa remain outside the continent, including (clockwise from top left): an Oduduwa helmet mask made of bronze from Benin City in Nigeria, housed at the British Museum in London; the “Royal Seat of the Kingdom of Dahomey” from Benin Republic, at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris; an ivory receptacle with figurative relief and stopper from the Loango coast, part of modern-day Republic of Congo, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; a Central African power figure from the coast of Congo and Angola, now at the Met; a Mbangu mask from southern Bandundu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, housed at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, Belgium; a head of a royal ancestor from the former Benin Kingdom, a part of modern-day Nigeria, displayed at the Quai Branly; and a carved ivory pendant mask of Queen Idia, inlaid with iron and bronze, from Benin Kingdom, now at the British Museum.

Is It Time to Repatriate Africa’s Looted Art?

Protests have strengthened calls for Western institutions to repatriate priceless cultural artifacts. Museums in Africa are ready to receive them.

Prince William of Britain scans in a drawing of himself onto a screen so he can make a cartoon character of himself dressed in a traditional Japanese costume during his visit to Tsutaya bookshop in Tokyo on Feb. 28, 2015.

Japan Doesn’t Want to Become Another Casualty of English

English skills bring status, but the public remains stubbornly bad at learning.

Wembley Way is seen thanking the NHS

Today’s Coronavirus Anger Can Revive Tomorrow’s Welfare State

Under the right conditions, social frustration can herald the dawn of new political solidarity.

Lee Sun-kyun and Jo Yeo-jeong in “Parasite.”

How a Samsung Heiress Helped Make ‘Parasite’ a Triumph

Miky Lee’s money and influence turned South Korean cinema into a powerhouse.

Protesters fly Union Jack flags and hold banners as they demonstrate outside City Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Jan. 12, 2013, amid protests against City Hall's decision not to fly the Union Jack every day.

Northern Ireland Is in a Culture War. Brexit Is Making It Worse.

Nationalists and unionists are in a battle for cultural supremacy, complicating the U.K.’s withdrawal from the EU.

Members of Code Pink protest as Former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Jan. 14, 2020 in Washington.

Outrage Culture Is Ruining Foreign Policy

As the 2020 presidential campaign heats up, U.S. politics is getting harder and harder to explain to the rest of the world.

Pope Francis eats lunch with guests on Nov. 17 in The Vatican, to mark the World Day of the Poor.

Pope Francis’s Heretical Pasta

Matteo Salvini and the Italian far-right have found a new target in their crusade to marginalize Muslims: pork-free tortellini.

Liu Yifei  in Disney’s live-action Mulan.

Let a Thousand Mulans Bloom

The upcoming Disney film is already a cultural battleground. But China’s most famous heroine thrives in many tellings.

A wine vessel attributed to the Niobid Painter of Athens.

Pandora’s Vox

Thousands of years ago, the ancient Greeks anticipated robots and artificial intelligence—and they didn’t trust them.

Supporters wave U.S. flags as they attend the Rally for America event at Marshall University stadium May 24, 2003 in Huntington, West Virginia.

You Can’t Defeat Nationalism, So Stop Trying

There are deep reasons that imagined communities will always be a powerful reality in international politics.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose for a photo with their newborn baby son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, in St George's Hall at Windsor Castle in Windsor, west of London on May 8, 2019.

Archie Windsor Isn’t the Symbol You Think He Is

The newest royal baby represents his country's future identity: not multicultural, but overwhelmingly mixed-race and entirely British.

A musician wearing a Soviet militia uniform stands before the entrance of the Ilkhom Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on March 13.

Tashkent Underground

The Ilkhom Theatre Company has kept freedom alive in Uzbekistan since before the fall of the Soviet Union.

The spire of Notre Dame collapses as the cathedral is engulfed in flames in Paris on April 15. (Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP/Getty Images)

‘This Restoration Will Take at Least a Decade’

Despite being spared the worst, Notre Dame is not out of danger, says the building expert Caroline Bruzelius.

Director Jia Zhangke speaks at the New York Film Festival on Sept. 30, 2018. (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

Inside Man

Jia Zhangke’s "Ash Is Purest White," socially critical yet officially sanctioned, strikes a middle path for Chinese cinema.

A mural of songwriter Bob Dylan by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota on Oct. 15, 2016. (Stephen Maturen/AFP/Getty Images)

Why Did the State Department Just Spend $84,375 on a Sculpture by Bob Dylan?

The purchase represents the cultural aspects of U.S. diplomacy for some and lavish and wasteful spending for others.