Looted Afghan treasures identified
Tuesday 01 March 2011
Afghan treasures looted from Kabul have come to light nearly 20 years after they were stolen, thanks to an unknown benefactor.
Up to 80 per cent of the National Museum of Afghanistan’s artefacts were destroyed or looted by the Taliban during the early Nineties.
The twenty fragments of ivory, thought to be ornate furniture inlays dating back to the 1st Century, were recently identified and purchased by an individual, who would prefer to remain anonymous, and are now being returned to Afghanistan.
Discovered in 1937 and 1939 by French archaeologists excavating the ancient city of Begram, north of Kabul, they are among Afghanistan’s most famous collections.
The pieces were examined by scientists at London’s British Museum on behalf of the National Museum of Afghanistan as part of the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation. They discovered traces of red, blue and black pigments demarking intricate patterns.
They will go on public display for the first time since the 1979 outbreak of war in Afghanistan this week at the British Museum alongside 200 artefacts loaned by the National Museum of Afghanistan.
They will be displayed alongside a superb collection of Hellenistic Greek sculptures, enamelled Roman glass and polished stone tableware brought from Egypt and delicate inlaid gold jewellery worn by the nomadic elite – all of which were salvaged from looters and hidden in the vaults of Kabul’s National Bank.
The existence of such objects is thanks to the curators and collectors who kept their whereabouts a secret for decades. The new exhibition has been launched to promote and further safeguard cultural heritage in Afghanistan.
‘Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World’ is at the British Museum 3 March – 3 July 2001, www.britishmuseum.org
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
The Crystal Maze: Richard O’Brien confirmed to return as more details revealed about show's rebooted format
James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
Guillaume Tell's gang-rape scene caused uproar at the Royal Opera House – but the portrayal of extreme sex and violence on stage is nothing new
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture