Monday, 30 December 2013

A Shipment of 1,050 Illegal Antiquities Seized in Pakistan

News is only now emerging regarding a bid to smuggle 1,050 antiquities out of Pakistan by sea in February 2013 which was foiled by the customs office. The confiscated artefacts ranged from the prehistoric ages dating back to 2000BC to the Islamic period. This could have been one of the biggest attempts to smuggle genuine artifacts abroad.
A team of archaeologists from Islamabad later examined the 1,155 artifacts which had been confiscated. The archeologists declared 1,050 artifacts as antiquities while the remaining 105 came under the purview of counterfeiting as defined under the relevant sections of the Antiquities Act 1975. [...]  Usually, less than 25 to 30 per cent of the historical items being smuggled are genuine artifacts,” [...] However, this time the majority of items in the 28 boxes stuffed into a container from Islamabad to Karachi through a courier service were found full of genuine relics. [...] The collection is full of surprises ranging from rare artifacts to popularly known works (sic) from the Gandhara period, especially from 200 to 400 AD. The items included statues of Buddha carved in schist stone, stucco, bronze and terracotta. Buddha Head as well as other Gandhara period objects such as friezes, panels, stupa models, stupa relic caskets and caskets dating from 100AD to 500AD were also found. Furthermore, painted pottery from Balochistan dating back to 2000-3000BC was also discovered. Similarly, the Islamic period pottery, glazed tiles and other materials being smuggled belonged to the 11th – 15th century AD.
(see a similar case here).
Jamal Shahid, 'Majority of 1,155 smuggled antiquities found genuine ', 30th Dec 2013

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