Monday, January 13, 2014

Fordham mosaics update

Source: Fordham
I have now received an update from Fordham about the acquisition of its mosaics. It is claimed that documentation is available:
two separate special customs invoices, issued by the U.S. Bureau of Customs and filed with the Treasury Department, which confirm that the mosaics were legally purchased in Beirut on May 19, 1972, and August 4, 1972, and shipped on the SS Concordia FJell and SS Star, respectively, and imported into the United States at the port of Baltimore on June 16 and August 23, 1972, respectively.
It is unclear from the latest release if images accompanied the invoices or if they were just basic descriptions. It also appears that the mosaics remained in the donor's family from 1972 until 2013.

The first recorded published mention of the roundel seems to have been in 1994.

Why did Fordham forget to place this information in its original press release?

Fordham is keen to make its position clear:
Fordham University acknowledges the serious and legitimate concerns for the security of Syria’s ancient archaeological sites and artifacts, and more broadly, the importance of establishing provenance as rigorously as possible in acquiring artworks from antiquity. The University is committed to best practices in antiquities acquisition, documentation, and display.
We look forward to seeing further information about the church where these mosaics were originally displayed.

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