Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cyrus Cylinder Returned to British Museum

From the Circle of Iranian Studies:

The Cyrus the Great Cylinder, described as the world's first Charter of Human Rights returned to the British Museum on Monday, following the seven-month loan to the National Museum of Iran (NMI).

The priceless Cylinder arrived in the UK just after the cultural authorities in Iran severed ties with the Louvre over the French museum’s decision not to lend Iranian antiquities to NMI.

The British Museum said the artefact would go back on display in its ancient Iran gallery (Room 52) on Tuesday.

[...]

In addition, a number of Iranian academics and oppositions objected the loaning of the cylinder to Iran, since the safety could not be guaranteed; a four-month loan was eventually agreed in September 2010. The cylinder was escorted by a British delegation headed by Dr John Curtis to the exhibition site, where it was displayed for the first time after 40 years during the 2,500 Year Celebration of Iranian Monarchy in 1971.

The duration of the loan was extended in December 2010, due to the exhibition’s popularity. Over two million Iranians have viewed this priceless artefact while it was on display in NMI.

The presence of Cyrus the Great Cylinder in Iran has proved immensely significant, as it was provided an opportunity for the majority of Iranians and non-governmental cultural establishments to promote a ‘nationalist narrative’, which predates Islam for thousands of years, once again since 1979 without fear of prosecution. Therefore, the bete noir of the artefact was the highest echelons for the Mullahs in Iran, as they boycotted the exhibition and called it the ‘work of Zionists’.

The full article contains more details.

HT: Paleojudaica

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