Two shipments of stolen Egyptian artefacts spanning the eras of the pharaohs and the Mamluks have been returned to Egypt, thanks to efforts from diplomatic officials. The first consists of eight Islamic wooden art decorations stolen in 2008 from the pulpit of Ghanim Al-Bahlawan Mosque in Al-Darb Al-Ahmar in Cairo’s historic Islamic district. Ghanim Al-Bahlawan Mosque, named after the Circassian Mamluk, was constructed in 1478 AD during the reign of Sultan Qait Bey. The decorative items depict geometrical patterns embellished with ivory.
When French Egyptologist Olivier Perdu saw a fragment of a pharaonic statue on display in a Brussels gallery last year, he assumed it was a twin of an ancient masterpiece he had examined in Egypt a quarter of a century earlier. The reality was an even more remarkable coincidence: the fragment was part of the very same artifact — a unique 6th century BC statue hewn from pale green stone — that Perdu had received special permission to study in Cairo in 1989. The statue, a 29 cm-high (11 inches) representation of a man wearing a pharaonic headdress was smashed by looters who broke into the Cairo Museum during the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak. Its top portion had been missing since then.
Missing for five years, eight decorative wooden beams, which had been severed off the pulpit of Ghanem Al-Bahlawan Mosque in Cairo’s historic Al-Darb Al-Ahmar area, have been returned to their homeland. Geometrical patterns embellish the wooden beams encrusted with ivory.
Read More: Looted Islamic Wooden Beams Return to Egypt
The fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods requires the enhancement of legal instruments and the use of practical tools disseminating information, raising public awareness, and preventing illegal export. Following reports of widespread damage and looting at cultural heritage sites in Syria, ICOM decided to publish the Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk with the aim to help art and heritage professionals and law enforcement officials identify Syrian objects that are protected by national and international legislations. In order to facilitate identification, the Emergency Red List illustrates the categories or types of cultural items that are most likely to be illegally bought and sold. Museums, auction houses, art dealers and collectors are encouraged not to acquire such objects without having carefully and thoroughly researched their origin and all the relevant legal documentation. Due to the great diversity of objects, styles and periods, the Emergency Red List of Syrian Cultural Objects at Risk is far from exhaustive. Any cultural good that could have originated from Syria should be subjected to detailed scrutiny and precautionary measures.
Four Ottoman tombstones, reportedly stolen from İstanbul’s Karacaahmet Cemetery, are set to be returned to Turkey after their sale at a London auction house was blocked through the intervention of Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Read More: Stolen Gravestones to be Returned to Turkey