Mu­se­ums unite to help spot stolen Iraqi an­tiq­ui­ties

The China Post - - ARTS -

Mu­seum ex­perts from around the world on Mon­day is­sued an “emer­gency red list” to help au­thor­i­ties iden­tify Iraqi an­tiq­ui­ties at risk of be­ing looted and il­le­gally ex­ported as the coun­try bat­tles a surge in ji­hadist vi­o­lence.

The list from the Paris-based In­ter­na­tional Coun­cil of Mu­se­ums (ICOM) high­lights ob­jects that are popular on the black mar­ket such as sculp­tures, stone tablets, vases and coins, and tells cus­toms and po­lice of­fi­cers how to spot stolen an­cient trea­sures.

“In re­cent months we have wit­nessed mas­sacres of mi­nori­ties in Syria and Iraq but also the de­struc­tion of priceless works of cul­tural her­itage,” the head of Paris’s famed Lou­vre Mu­seum, Jean-Luc Martinez, said at a press con­fer­ence pre­sent­ing the new list.

“Th­ese are two parts of the same strat­egy that has been de­scribed as ‘cul­tural cleans­ing’ which seeks to erase en­tire seg­ments of hu­man his­tory,” he added.

Items on the list range from mil­len­niaold Me­sopotamian goods to 19th-cen­tury ar­ti­facts from the reign of the Ot­tomans.

ICOM’s pres­i­dent Hans-Martin Hinz said that since 2000 the or­ga­ni­za­tion has pub­lished red lists for over 25 na­tions.

“It is a so­lu­tion with proven re­sults,” he said, adding that art deal­ers should “stop buy­ing ob­jects that come from Syria and Iraq.”

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