Cultural Postcards + [USA]

Southern Europe: Sotheby’s sells two Cypriot heads despite objections
Walk of Truth demanded the withdrawal of two ancient Cypriot heads that were scheduled for auction at Sotheby’s on December 12 in New York, until their provenance was clarified.

Sotheby’s sells two Cypriot heads despite objections
Left: Cypriot limestone head of God, Priest, or Votary, ca. 490-450 BC; 
Right: Cypriot limestone head of a Kore, ca. late 6th c. BC 
[Credit: Sotheby's]

Requested in writing by the non-governmental organization, Walk of Truth (WOT)  who took this initiative following information given to it by Mr. Stelios Perdikis, Curator of the Kykkos Monastery Museum in Cyprus. The two heads are made of limestone: As mentioned in the Sotheby’s catalogue, one is “The head of God, Priest or Votary” and is dated between 490-450 B.C. and valued at $6.000-8.000 and the other is “The head of Kore” of the 6th century B.C. valued between $8.000-12.000.

Walk of Truth, in its letter, demanded the withdrawal of these antiquities until their provenance has been determined because Cyprus has been a victim of looting and the destruction of its cultural heritage ever since 1974, when Turkey invaded the island.  The occupied area of Cyprus (by Turkey) has endured unprecedented looting of its churches, ancient monuments and religious artifacts, which are illegally sold abroad.

Sotheby’s, in its reply, informed WoT that “they believe these heads were exported from Cyprus before 1974 and were not “illegally sold.” The WoT organization is raising serious issues with the auction house in their request to “investigate the provenance of the artifacts thoroughly and prove with certificates and other relevant information, the dates these pieces were exported from Cyprus. As mentioned in the letter of WoT founder, Tasoula Hadjitofi, “the auction houses must be transparent in their actions and should be responsible for investigating what they auction and what they place on sale.”

The illegal trade of art is providing funds to other criminal acts, including funding terrorist and extremist groups and we must all work towards its elimination.

Editor's Note

The auction took place as scheduled and the two heads were sold for 20,000USD and 25,000USD respectively.

Source: Walk of Truth [December 13, 2014]