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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Ancient Cypriot jug found in Holland and returned to Cyprus

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ΑρχαΙα κυπρι&alpha ;κor κανατα εντοπiστηκε στην Ολλα νδΙα και επιστρΕφεται στην Κyπρ&omicron

An 8th-century BC Cypriot jug, which was put up for sale at a Dutch art market and appears to have been illegally bought and smuggled out of Cyprus shortly after the Turkish invasion, was recently returned to the Republic of Cyprus, it was announced on Tuesday in a press release from the Embassy of KD in BENELUX. The jug, after its delivery to the director of the Department of Antiquities, was given to the National Museum of Antiquities, in the Netherlands under the regime of long-term loan.

Specifically, it is reported that the ancient jug with, among other things, purple concentric circles, appeared in September when it was auctioned at the Omnia auction house in the village of Colham, Groningen, and was identified by the Department of Antiquities in Nicosia “which meticulously monitors Cypriot cultural heritage throughout the people”. The Cypriot Embassy and the Department of Antiquities contacted Omnia, it added. Following intervention and investigation by experts from the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden “who have extensive experience with Cypriot antiquities”, it was established that the jug was purchased between April 1974 and July 1975 and was probably smuggled out of the country shortly after Turkish invasion of Cyprus in July 1974. “It was also possible to trace the origin of the ancient jug to the area of ​​Cyprus which has been illegally occupied by the Turkish army since 1974,” the press release states.

It is noted that the director of the Department of Antiquities, Dr. Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou received the jug, as part of “a celebratory meeting” at the National Museum of Antiquities (NMA) in Leiden, where the auctioneer, Hans Raspe, of the Omnia auction house, returned the jug to KD. Afterwards, Mrs. Ieronimidou handed it over to the director of the NMA, Wim Weijland, as a long-term loan to the museum, it is reported.

Mr Raspe said in his speech that the Omnia auction house is an advocate of a transparent art market in which there is no room for illegal buying or selling of looted works of art. “That's why we always cooperate in cases of identified looted art in mediation to return an object to its rightful owner,” he said.

Mrs. Ieronimidou pointed out that Cyprus monitors the global art market continuously. It is noted that, after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, “many valuable and irreplaceable ancient objects”, including religious works of art, such as icons, were stolen and appeared in the illegal art trade.

The Ambassador of Cyprus , Frances Lanitou Williams, mentioned in her speech that the rich cultural heritage of Cyprus includes 12,000 years of history. “Over the years we have identified many Cypriot antiquities on the market, which are available for sale at various prices. This is unthinkable for us Cypriots since the past, the historical and cultural heritage of a people cannot be put at a price,” she said, adding that the actions of Messrs. Raspe and Weijland “pleased her greatly”. 

It is reported that, due to the longstanding excellent relationship between Cyprus and the National Museum in Leiden, the Department of Antiquities has decided to grant the ancient jug to the museum as an item on long-term loan.   

Source: www.reporter.com.cy

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