Friday 10 July 2020

Iranian Antiquities Smuggled to Austria Returned

Teheran Times, 'Ancient relics smuggled to Austria back home' July 10, 2020.

A batch of Iranian ancient relics that had been smuggled to Austria, was found in a safety-deposit box of a bank in Austria in April last year. The bank set about renovating the building which meant emptying the safe-deposit boxes inside the bank. They notified the holders of the safe-deposit boxes that the bank, but in the cases when nobody came forward they were opened by the bank. It was then that it was discovered that one of the holders kept some antiquities of gold and silver in his/her box. Note the terminology:
“The images [that we have been received from the confiscated objects] show a metal rhyton in the Achaemenid style, which its counterparts are found in the National Museum of Iran and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; and a bronze headpiece of the Sassanid King (Shapur II), the original of which is made of silver being kept at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York….,” he explained. 
The objects were handed over to a representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Vienna on Thursday. 

Two things. Iran is one of those areas of antiquities collecting where there are enormous numbers of  fakes and misattributed artefacts on the market (particularly 'Luristan'). We can't see these objects up close, but from a distance the patina across a large part of the batch is pretty uniform. The rhyton is said to be "in Achaemenid style" and the bronze [bust] of which the original is in the Met. suggests that the recipients know that many of the items in the batch are fake .

Secondly, we are starting to learn that in the antiquities grey market, after smuggling, artefacts are frequently stockpiled hidden away (often eight to ten years - or more) to |"surface" when the paper trail is more likely to have grown cold. In this case, it seems that the dealer had died and was unable to retrieve the hidden artefacts in the time allowed. How many more such caches are there in European bank vaults?

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.