Friday, April 18, 2003
Kismet at Christie's?
7th-8th Century Glazed Pot, Iran
Through this interesting site we discover that Christie's of London is having a "fresh as this morning's headlines" Islamic Art and Manuscripts auction this coming April 29th. Here is the catalogue.
According to this morning's Washington Post:
Well-organized professional thieves stole most of the priceless artifacts looted from Baghdad's National Museum of Antiquities last week, and they may have had inside help from low-level museum employees, the head of UNESCO said today...Thousands of objects were lost at the museum, both to the sophisticated burglars and to mob looting, Koichiro Matsuura, director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said in an interview....one group of thieves had keys to an underground vault where the most valuable artifacts were stored..."The most important, best material" was taken by professionals who "knew what they were doing," Gibson (McGuire Gibson, University of Chicago's Oriental Institute) said. "Then mobs came in and just marauded."
Quoting a similar story in The New York Times:
``It looks as if part of the theft was a very, very deliberate, planned action,'' said McGuire Gibson, president of the American Association for Research in Baghdad.
``They were able to obtain keys from somewhere for the vaults and were able to take out the very important, the very best material,'' Gibson said. ``I have a suspicion it was organized outside the country. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was.''
Photo: Lot from Christie's catalogue