NEW YORK, JANUARY 31 – Following Iraq, Syria, and Libia, now it’s Yemen turn. Produced with the scientific contribution of international experts and museums from the United States, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Germany, ICOM’s new Yemen Red List identifies categories of Yemeni objects which may be in high demand on the art and antiquities market and which are most at risk of being illicitly trafficked.
Yemeni cultural authorities contributed to the 13 pages list which was presented at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York. The goal of the list is to help law enforcement, traders and other concerned cultural property officials to recognize objects that could be illegally traded or sold. “What has long felt like a battle in which we had too few allies, has transformed into an international response where we can count with powerful players by our side. By working closely together, we believe we will change the world”, said Suay Aksoy, President of ICOM.
“I come from country deeply rooted in history, but today and for many years involved in a bloody conflict. Yemen civilization was connected with many other ancient civilizations beyond the Middle East, to Greece and Rome. Saving Yemen’s heritage is saving the world’s heritage,” said Ambassador Khaled Hussein Alyemany, the Permanent Representative of Yemen to the UN. The Ambassador called for a deeper collaboration with the Security Council, where last March a resolution drafted by Italy and France on cultural heritage was unanimously adopted. “We are here to reflect upon the rich history of Yemen, its unique heritage and cultural treasures, as well as our shared hope for peace, stable governance, and security in Yemen”, remarked Jennifer Zimdahl Galt, Acting assistant secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
The list does not include stolen artifacts. Instead it presents 46 types of objects that are particularly vulnerable to traffic. There are thee criteria for the inclusion: the site of the object must be at risk; it has to be protected by national legislation; it must be in demand on the market. Examples are an alabaster, stucco and bitumen head, or a illuminated Arabic manuscript. A brass astrolabe, dated 1291, a bronze incense burner from the mid 1st millennium BC is safe in the collection of the Met, while the Casis Project at the University of Pisa entered with a bronze bust from the 3rd Century BC and a limestone libation table from Marib.
The Red List for Yemen is the 17th put together by ICOM (with an 18th in the works for Southeast Europe) concerning 40 countries. After the first Red List of African archaeological Objects was published in 2000, a large number of looted cultural objects were returned to African countries, including 600 statues returned to Niger.similarly, after the Red List of Afghanistan antiquities was published in 2006, nearly 8,000 stolen objects were returned. (@alebal)
The following two tabs change content below.
Alessandra Baldini e’ stata la prima donna giornalista parlamentare per l’Ansa, poi corrispondente a Washington e responsabile degli uffici Ansa di New York e Londra. Dirige OnuItalia.