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
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 4 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Kurt Cobain's life and death: Montage of Heck film uses unseen footage to tell Nirvana frontman's story
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Drugs Live: Twitter responds to Jon Snow and Jennie Bond smoking cannabis
Jimmy McGovern's new TV series 'Banished': Why Australia's past has such resonance today
The Walking Dead, Remember, review: The discovery of a new community leads Rick to a dark decision
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'