Exhibit of recovered prehistorical bricks extended due to popularity

April 23, 2022 - 18:14

TEHRAN – An exhibition of prehistorical glazed bricks devoted to objects recovered from a smuggler in Switzerland has been extended by two weeks due to popular demand, the National Museum of Iran said on Thursday.

“The exhibition, which was due to end on April 19, will now be extended until May 5, according to the repeated requests from people interested in this exhibit,” the museum announced.  

Bearing images of various sphinxes, animals, and other motifs, the decorated bricks were originally discovered at the Qalaichi archaeological site in western Iran which was once the capital of the Mannaean kingdom.

They were looted and smuggled out of Iran some four decades ago, however, they 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.

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.

Chock-full of priceless objects showcasing the juicy history of the nation, the National Museum showcases ceramics, pottery, stone figures, and carvings, mostly taken from excavations at Persepolis, Ismail Abad (near Qazvin), Shush, Rey, and Turang Tappeh to name a few.


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