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29 May, 2024
 
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Stolen 8th century BC jug returned to Cyprus

The jug was discovered to have been smuggled out of Cyprus in the 70's and was being put up for sale in an auction house in the Netherlands

Source: CNA

A Cypriot jug from the 8th century BC that was offered for sale on the Dutch art market, and which appeared to have been smuggled out of Cyprus shortly after the Turkish invasion of the island in July 1974, was recently returned to the Republic of Cyprus. The object, after being handed over to the director of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus, was given to the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden as a long-term loan.

A press release by the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in the BENELUX, in conjunction with the National Museum of Antiquities (NMA) in Leiden and auction house Omnia in Kolham, said that, during “a ceremonial meeting” at the NMA, the jug was returned by auctioneer Hans Raspe of Auction House Omnia to Dr. Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou, director of the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus. She consequently transferred it to director Wim Weijland of the NMA, as a long-term loan to the museum.

it appeared that the jug had been bought between April 1974 and July 1975 and was probably smuggled out of the country shortly after the Turkish invasion in Cyprus in July 1974

According to the press release, the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus recently discovered that a Cypriot jug from the 8th century BC was offered for sale on the Dutch art market when it was put for auction in September at Auction House Omnia in the Groningen village of Kolham. “The object appeared to have been smuggled out of Cyprus in the seventies”, it added.

It is noted that the Embassy of Cyprus and the Department of Antiquities contacted Omnia. After the intervention of, and, an investigation by experts of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, “which has extensive experience with Cypriot antiquities”, it appeared that the jug had been bought between April 1974 and July 1975 and was probably smuggled out of the country shortly after the Turkish invasion in Cyprus in July 1974, the press release said. The provenance of the antique jug could also be traced back to the part of Cyprus which has been illegally occupied by the Turkish army since 1974, it is added.

Auctioneer Raspe said in his speech at the ceremony that Auction House Omnia is a supporter of a transparent art market where there is no place for unlawful trading or trading of looted art. “That is why we always cooperate in cases of identified looted art in the mediation to return an object to its rightful owner”, Raspe said.

Dr. Solomidou indicated that Cyprus is watching the global art market continuously. Since the Turkish invasion in Cyprus in 1974 many valuable and irreplaceable antique objects, among which many religious works of art, like icons, have been stolen and turned up in the illegal art trade, she added.

The Ambassador of Cyprus, Frances Lanitou Williams, said in her speech that the rich cultural heritage of Cyprus encompasses 12,000 years of history. “Over the years we have encountered many Cypriot antiquities on the market being illegally sold at various prices, which is inconceivable to us Cypriots as one cannot put a price on one’s past, on one’s historical and cultural heritage. I’m therefor very happy with the actions taken by the gentlemen Raspe and Weijland”, she said.

It is noted, that, as Cyprus and the National Museum in Leiden have “a longstanding excellent” relationship, the Cypriot Department of Antiquities decided to give the antique jug as a long-term loan to the museum.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  Netherlands

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