When was the “Apollo” of Gaza taken into “custody”?

David Meadows is doing a series on the “Apollo” (tray-bearer) statue from Gaza. So far, he’s written a post on fishy tales and a note on Arabic-language news reports. Vernon Silver showed David articles from Sama News and Palestine Press, including one without the Smurf-pattern bedsheet. But I don’t think it’s the sheet that’s been removed. I think it’s the statue…

Smuggled out of Egypt… to an ironmonger in blockaded Gaza?

The Arabic articles’ Egyptian origin myth sounds… unlikely… It implies an international organised crime gang managed to loot the “gold” statue, smuggle it out of Egypt and smuggle it into Gaza… then took it to the village of Dayr al-Balah (but not 20km further to Gaza City) and gave it to an ironmonger to sell. Or they got the “gold” statue that far, then sold it to an ironmonger. (Yes, in that story he was an ironmonger…)

Also, there were already Arabic-language video reports that a ‘Greek statue that dates back 1,500 years ha[d] been found in Gaza…. by a group of Gazan fishermen’, made of bronze and weighing 450kg, the value of which ‘experts estimate[d]‘ to be €250m(!), before the Palestine Press article. Still, the Sama News report is early (on the 24th of September 2013). There are more curiosities in the Arabic-language coverage, but they can wait.

Custody photos?

I don’t think the bedsheet was absent; I think the statue was absent, from its normal location. The statue was lying on a different mattress, in a different room. In one photo, the statue is on the Smurf-pattern bedsheet, which is on a bare foam mattress, which is on grills, which are on a stained floor with ‘workroom’- or ‘storeroom’-style tiles. In another photo, the statue is on a covered mattress (without a bedsheet), which is on a clean floor with ‘hotel’- or ‘ministry’-style tiles; they might be house tiles, they’re just not workroom ones.

I don’t know which ‘expert[s]’ valued the statue – antiquities collector Jawdat Khoudary and/or antiquities director Ahmed Elburch. But, according to the most commonly told myth, “finder” Jouda Ghurab only approached Khoudary indirectly. And Elburch appears only to have seen the statue, never to have kept it, so the second photo probably wasn’t taken at the antiquities department.

Was the first photo taken by the police when they were confiscating it, and the second after they had deposited it elsewhere?

In September or October 2013, the tray-bearer is in a 'workroom'-style-tiled room.

At one point in September or October 2013, the tray-bearer was on a Smurf-bedsheet-covered bare foam mattress, in a room with a grill-covered, ‘workroom’-style-tiled (and stained) floor.

At one point in September or October 2013, the tray-bearer was in a 'hotel' or 'ministry'-style-tiled room. (c) Palestine Press, 3rd October 2013

At another point in September or October 2013, the tray-bearer was on a covered mattress, in a room with ‘hotel’ or ‘ministry’-style tiles.
(c) Palestine Press, 3rd October 2013

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2 Comments to “When was the “Apollo” of Gaza taken into “custody”?”

  1. You know we have a joke in the antiques business about this part of the world. It goes like this. A French dealer is visiting an Egyptian dealer who offers him a skull. He says it’s Cleopatra’s skull and he wants 100,000 for it. The French dealer says that’s too much. So the Egyptian dealer goes into the back room and comes back with a much smaller skull. This one is only 50,000. Who is it? Aaaahhhh, this is Cleopatra’s skull when she was a child! 🙂

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