Skip to main content

Athens: Two Antiquities from the Shelby White Collection on Display

Mihalis Liapis, the Hellenic Minister of Culture, has spoken about the two antiquities returned to Greece by Shelby White (press release). The ceremony held at the National Museum, Athens today revealed the two pieces; they will be on temporary display in the museum. These are confirmed as the stele fragment (Glories of the Past no. 97) and the bronze calyx-krater (though no mention is made of the catalogue, Greek Bronze Vessels from the Collection of Shelby White & Leon Levy no. 9).

Liapis spoke about the "trauma" of looting in Greece. He called for co-operation between governments, museums and collectors so that the full educational benefits of archaeological finds could be appreciated. He described the returned items, the upper part of a funerary stele from Attica and a bronze calyx-krater from Pieria in northern Greece. Liapis spoke about the continued fight against looters through the development of a new directorate to deal with the protection of cultural objects. He turned from this "war" on criminal activity to mention that he had raised the issue of the Parthenon sculptures at a recent meeting of the European ministers of culture.

Further details about the funerary stele were provided in the press release, including a reference to the work of Georgios Despinis who spotted the link with the piece excavated at Porto Raphti (and now in the museum at Vrauron, inv. BE6). The krater had been identified by an investigative journalist, Nikolas Zirganos. The piece was very similar to the krater excavated from a tomb at Pieria.

The agreement between the Ministry of Culture and Shelby White acknowledges that the collector had acquired the pieces in "good faith". However there is an explicit statement that the Ministry reserves the right to make claims on further objects in her collection («το Υπουργείο Πολιτισμού επιφυλάσσεται κάθε νομίμου δικαιώματός του για οποιαδήποτε μελλοντική διεκδίκηση που αφορά σε κάποια από τις άλλες αρχαιότητες»).

The handover had taken place on Wednesday July 30, 2008 in the Hellenic consulate, New York with Jennifer Chi (Associate Director for Exhibitions and Public Programs at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York) acting as Shelby White's representative.

Reference
Γ. Δεσπίνης, «Επιτύμβια στήλη από το Πόρτο Ράφτη: αποκατάσταση και σχόλια», Εγνατία 3- 1991-2, 7-27.

Comments

Attis said…
According to the newspaper Τα Νέα, the Greek Government will embark on claiming another three looted antiquities now on display at the Μichael Carlos Μuseum of Emory University of Atlanta.These are (according to the article):

(a) a life-size marble statue of Terpsichore (4th-2nd c. BC) that was kept in a barn in Ioannina before it was smuggled abroad (?), worth at least 10 million dollars,

(b) a monumental pithos probably form Rhodes (650-600 BC)

(c) a complete Minoan clay larnax with rich painted decoration of sea creatures (14th c. BC) probably from Crete.

From the Michael C. Carlos museum website the pieces are the following:

(a) Marble Terpsichore

http://www.carlos.emory.edu/muse-terpsichore

(b) The pithos
http://www.carlos.emory.edu/pithos-amphora

(c)The larnax
http://www.carlos.emory.edu/larnax-bath-tub

The full article here:
http://www.tanea.gr/default.asp?pid=2&artid=85185&ct=4

Popular posts from this blog

Codename: Ainsbrook

I have been watching (UK) Channel 4's Time Team this evening. The programme looked at an undisclosed field (under a potato crop) where a Viking burial had been found. The location in Yorkshire was so sensitive that it was given a codename: Ainsbrook. Here is the summary:
In late 2003 two metal detectorists were working in a field in Yorkshire. They found 'treasure' buried just beneath the surface – a collection of Viking material next to a body. Although they had been detecting on the site for a number of years, during which time they had made large numbers of finds, nothing they had uncovered previously compared with this. They decided to share their discovery with archaeologists.The programme explored the tension between metal-detectorists and the English Heritage sponsored archaeologists putting six trenches into the field based on a geo-physical survey. Finds made by the metal-detectorists did not easily map onto the archaeological features.

Part of the programme had an …

The scale of the returns to Italy

I have been busy working on an overview, "Returning Archaeological Objects to Italy". The scale of the returns to Italy from North American collections and galleries is staggering: in excess of 350 objects. This is clearly the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the material that has surfaced on the market without a history that can be traced back to the period before 1970. 

I will provide more information in due course, but the researcher is a reminder that we need to take due diligence seriously when it comes to making acquisitions.

Stele returns to Greece

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture has announced (Saturday 8 September 2018) that a stele that had been due to be auctioned at Sotheby's in London in June 2017 has been returned to Greece (Friday 7 September 2018). The identification had been made by Cambridge-based forensic archaeologist Dr Christos Tsirogiannis.

It appeared that the stele had been supplied with a falsified history as its presence with Becchina until 1990 contradicted the published sale catalogue entry. It then moved into the hands of George Ortiz.

A year ago it was suggested that Sotheby's should contact the Greek authorities. Those negotiations appear to have concluded successfully.

The 4th century BC stele fragment, with the personal name, Hestiaios, will be displayed in the Epigraphic Museum in Athens. It appears to have come from a cemetery in Attica.