Ancient jug returned to Turkey
A golden spouted jug, which dates back to 4,250 years and belongs to the period of Hattians, one of the ancient civilizations of Anatolia, has been returned to Turkey and now adorns the shelves of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.
A welcoming ceremony was held on Oct. 26 at the museum to mark the return of the ancient work.
Speaking at the ceremony, Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said that Turkey continues to work resolutely for the return of cultural assets that were illegally taken from its lands.
Ersoy explained that they had faced difficulties on this path from time to time and that they had to struggle with biased decisions and unrealistic and unscientific perspectives.
Speaking about the return process of the work, Ersoy said: “This work was purchased in 1989 by Sir Arthur Gilbert, the founder of the Gilbert Foundation. Of course, at the time, he had no knowledge of its illegal origin. Then it was entrusted to the Victoria and Albert Museum for preservation. While it was in this museum for many years, the Gilbert Foundation requested conducting research works for its origin. In this process, the General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums was informed about the photographs and chemical data regarding the artifact.”
“The museum experts compared the artifact with the Alacahöyük and Mahmatlar finds and confirmed that the artifact is a cultural property of the Hattian period stylistically. Experts from the Ankara Restoration and Conservation Regional Laboratory, affiliated with the ministry, made comparisons of the metal component data of the artifact. Mining expert Professor Ünsal Yalçın, one of the academics of Bochum University, also confirmed the results. After the submission of our legal basis and scientific data regarding the protection of cultural assets to the Gilbert Foundation Board of Trustees, the foundation, without hesitation, decided to return the work to the land it belongs to. As a result of mutual negotiations, we thought that the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations would be the right address for the exhibition and preservation of this work, with its magnificent Hatti collection,” the minister added.
Ersoy reminded that the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, which was founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, in 1921 before the end of the War of Independence, turned 100 years old. The name of the museum is the most concrete example of the philosophy of the Republic of Turkey in the field of cultural heritage preservation, he added.
Nicholas Coleridge, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Gilbert Art Foundation, said that after the death of Arthur Gilbert, the owner of the collection, an investigation was initiated into the history of the works in the collection.
Noting that as a result of the investigation, it was identified that the jug was illegally taken from Turkey, Coleridge emphasized that it was important for them to know where the artifacts in the collection came from.
Coleridge said that after a long journey, the golden spouted jug reached where it should have been and that he was happy to entrust this jug to Turkey again.