Professor David Gill, 'From an old Montecito collection', Looting Matters June 4th 2015:
When a Palmyrene sculpture appears on the market you would expect the auction house to provide an authenticated collecting history. "Acquired prior to 1996" sounds rather imprecise and suggests that there is no documented collecting history showing the sculpture's origins.Rural Syria was not exactly prosperous even in 1996, now living conditions there are rather dire. Let's have a look inside some of those Montecito homes. Generally a lot of clutter and bad colour coordination (a Chinese bronze horse tomb figure seems to be fuzzily visible in one interior). Probably this statue - if it's not being dumped by a dealer afraid the bottom's going to drop out of the Palmyrene antiquities market very, very soon - was cleared by a hose owner wanting to be able to use some of that floor space.Some people from Syria do not have homes, the number of Syrian refugees has now passed 2.5 million. That's 2.5 million lives changed forever. What couldn't a relief agency do in Syria with that obscene $25,000 – $35,000? How many blankets and bottles of water would it buy? Go on Christie's do the decent thing. Tell your well-heeled anonymous seller hoping to profit this morning where to stick his statue.