The end is near! Visit objects recovered from smuggler at Tehran show

April 15, 2022 - 18:34

TEHRAN – A exhibition of prehistorical glazed bricks, recovered from a smuggler in Switzerland, is about to wrap up at the National Museum of Iran in downtown Tehran.

Unearthed from the Qalaichi archaeological site in western Iran which was once the capital of the Mannaean kingdom, prehistorical objects bear images of various sphinxes, animals, and other motifs.

Being looted and smuggled out of Iran some four decades ago, the decorated bricks were returned home from Switzerland last year. According to The Art Newspaper, the artworks were recovered from a warehouse in Switzerland.

In the 1970s, a farmer plowing at Qalaichi came across a decorated brick, probably from the columned hall of its citadel. This discovery led to extremely damaging illegal excavations, partly using a bulldozer.

The end is near! Visit objects recovered from smuggler at Tehran show

Eventually, in 1985, there was an official rescue excavation, but this was quickly abandoned because of an intensification of the Iran-Iraq war. There were then 14 more years of illegal digging until 1999 when there was another official excavation. But by this time only small fragments of broken bricks were found.

Mannai civilization flourished in northwestern Iran in the 1st millennium BC. Mannai, also spelled Manna, was an ancient country surrounded by three major powers of the time namely Assyria, Urartu, and Media.

The exhibit featuring 51 pieces of decorated glazed bricks will come to an end on April 19.

AFM

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