Posts tagged ‘Palmyra’

April 13, 2016

Of fingers and forgeries – illicit Palmyrene art

In the original title of my previous post, I asked, does one of the ‘recently excavated Palmyrene statues’ have six fingers? In a somewhat unexpected turn of events, some people seem to have (mis)understood it as a denial of the existence of polydactyly (where people have more than five digits on one or more of their hands and/or feet).

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April 13, 2016

Were these ‘Palmyrene statues’ ‘recently excavated’? At least one appears to be a forgery.

I had been planning to leave this note until later, as I am supposed to be writing – and, my dear and unduly patient editors, I am writing – something on iconoclasm. However, since the evidence is being discussed, I felt I should write this now. Looking at the two ‘Palmyrene statues’ that have recently been sold through a ‘public auction in Raqqa’, I believe that at least one is fake (though I would defer to any expert, as I am not one).

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December 10, 2015

Is the “wine chalice” “from Palmyra Museum” a modern bucket from someone’s house?

Last week, Classical archaeologist and art historian Vladimir Stissi looked at the ‘pretty crude fakes’ “from Palmyra Museum”. Highlighting the importance of scales in photos, Stissi observed,

As far as I can judge from the photo, the bucket does not look like a fake in the strict sense, but rather like a 19th-20th century decorative household utensil, or kitsch for domestic display. The patina looks very un-ancient. The relief decoration seems to be freely based on famous Roman sculptures.

November 30, 2015

‘pretty crude fakes’ that were advertised as conflict antiquities from Palmyra Museum

I thought that the statue looked like a forgery, but I have no background in this material, so I didn’t want to judge. Plus, I didn’t think that Google would be able to translate “alleged antiquities, allegedly looted from Syria’s Palmyra Museum…”. I also feel like I’ve seen the wine chalice somewhere before, but I can’t think where, and I haven’t been able to find it. Perhaps it was on the illicit trading platform that was taken offline.

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November 29, 2015

Antiquities, looted from Syria’s Palmyra Museum, seized while for sale in eastern Turkey? No.

Update (30th November 2015): the objects were ‘pretty crude fakes‘ that seem to have been advertised as conflict antiquities from Palmyra Museum.

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October 28, 2015

Islamic State did not destroy things attached to people, it killed people attached to things

You can read either story. The relevant sections of the texts are both from the Associated Press. But the titles? In one newspaper, “Islamic State ‘blows up three captives tied to Roman columns’ in Palmyra”. In another, “ISIS blows up more Palmyra antiquities, with civilians attached“.

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July 31, 2015

‘The smuggler had been smoking a cigarette when he pulled into an ISIS checkpoint’

When the Islamic State conquered Palmyra, ‘the world recoiled in horror, fearing [its] destruction’. The week after, Buzzfeed’s Mike Giglio ‘sat in a sunlit living room near the border with a looter from Palmyra who had spent much of the last 15 years robbing grave sites there’, and secured evidence for the events and processes that influence the flow of antiquities from vulnerable communities in Syria and Iraq to exploitative markets in the West.

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July 30, 2015

Buzzfeed’s Mike Giglio’s been in Turkey’s borderlands after Syria’s looted antiquities

‘Over the course of a month’, Buzzfeed’s Mike Giglio ‘traveled along Turkey’s 565-mile-long border with Syria to meet more than a dozen people involved in this illegal trade, from the grave robbers and excavators who steal the artifacts to the middlemen and dealers who sell them.’

I couldn’t believe it when I spotted the matches for the antiquities from Palmyra, but Mark Altaweel, Michael Danti and Amr al-Azm confirmed it. I’ll write that update (to this post) tonight…

July 3, 2015

Palmyra: looting under the rebels, the Assad regime and the Islamic State?

As I’ve worked and reworked this, I’ve found (and removed) half-finished sentences from previous edits, and I’m posting it now because of the latest developments, but if I rediscover forgotten information, I will add it. It is too long to read, and it is a bit rat-a-tat-tat (in jumping from section to section), but you can skip to “flogging propaganda” for my thoughts on the Islamic State’s destruction of antiquities from Palmyra.

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June 24, 2015

How does destroying buildings save children? (It doesn’t.)

When I reported the destruction of Sheikh Mohammed Ali’s tomb, I excluded photos of another site that I had not identified. The second “landmark of polytheism” was the tomb of Nizar Abu Bahaaeddine, which is – or was – by an oasis outside Palmyra.

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