Friday 31 January 2014

Looted Mithraic Relief Re-Assembled: Snout on a Stick Still Missing

Relief with a hole, a hole caused by looters and collectors

A relief in a cave used for Mithraic worship at Tor Cervara in Rome was broken into pieces and the fragments were stolen and scattered on the art market. In the mid 1960s the fragments remaining in the cave were pieced together making up part of the tauromachia, bullfight scene in the Museo delle Terme in Rome. The bull's head and the a part of the upper body and head of the god Mithras were missing. Because the relief remained incomplete, it was moved to the stores.

In 1976 an art dealer in Bern offered the Badische Landesmuseum the head of a Mithraic relief. The museum conducted a search to determine whether such an item had been reported stolen, when finding no trace of such a report, they bought the head for 60,000 D- Mark even though there was no record of where it had come from.

The Karlsruhe Mithras head was identified as the  missing part of the relief in Rome in 1987 by the Swiss archaeologist Rolf Stucky. The Karlsruhe Mithras was acquired before germany became party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention - so the Italians cannot claim it back. Instead at the end of last year, the Museo delle Terme sent the relief  to Karlsruhe, where it was joined to the head. The completed Mithras Relief - only the head of the bull is still missing - appeared in the  Karlsruhe exhibition "Empire of the Gods". After completion of the exhibition in May, the completed relief will be shown in Italy for ten years. In return, Karlsruhe then gets a loan from Rome.

 'Der fehlende Kopf kam aus der Schweiz' Tages Anzeiger 30.01.2014

Karlruhe's loose 60000 DM head-on-a-stick, as "art",  no sense at all without the rest, and without knowing where it came from:

So which selfish collector of "ancient art" has the ever-so artistic "snout on a stick" hidden away?

and why? 

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