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Asunto: Recuperada la "Dama de Warka"
Fecha:Jueves, 18 de Septiembre, 2003  12:40:45 (+0200)
Autor:José Luis Santos <joseluis @..............com>

 

 
 
 
Irak.- Recuperada la 'Mona Lisa de Mesopotamia', una de las piezas más importantes robadas del Museo de Bagdad
 
 
 
 
La 'Mona Lisa de Mesopotamia', una de las piezas más importantes del Museo de Bagdad que fueron robadas tras la caída del régimen de Sadam Husein el pasado mes de abril, ha sido recuperada, según informó hoy el ministro de Cultura.
 
Se trata de una escultura sumeria de mármol que representa la cabeza de una mujer y que data de más de 5.000 años, procedente de la ciudad de Warka (la antigua Uruk, en el sur). "No tengo detalles sobre el lugar en que fue encontrada, pero posiblemente nunca haya salido de Irak", declaró el ministro, Mufid Mohamed Yauad al Yazairi, a la prensa en Bagdad.
 
La escultura, de 20 centímetros de altura, data del 3100 antes de Cristo y fugura entre las cinco piezas más importantes que desaparecieron tras el saqueo del Museo Arqueológico de Bagdad.
 
"Hemos perdido demasiadas piezas, pero haremos todo lo posible por recuperarlas. Este hallazgo demuestra que nuestros esfuerzos no son en vano", añadió el ministro, quien agradeció a los ciudadanos y a la Policía iraquíes su colaboración, que ha permitido la recuperación de decenas de piezas.
 
Yazairi acusó al antiguo régimen de utilizar la cultura al servicio del poder. "Asfixiaron la voz del pueblo y transformaron este Ministerio en un utensilio antidemocrático. Ahora podemos reparar el mal que se ha hecho, promover la cultura y proteger a los intelectuales y artistas".
 
Asimismo, instó a la comunidad internacional a "ayudar a Irak a recuperar su herencia", un patromonio cultural que ha sufrido los doce años de sanciones internacionales de la ONU.
 
 

 
 
 
 
Enlace relacionado: VASO DE WARKA
 
 
 
 
By Rosalind Russell
 
BAGHDAD, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Crouching over a tin trunk, Dr Ahmed Kamil gently picks up a piece of the Vase of Warka, an ancient treasure which, until this year, had survived 5,000 years of war and invasion in the land now called Iraq.
 
The delicately carved vase from the Sumerian kingdom of Mesopotamia lies in 14 pieces in a hot, airless storeroom in the Iraqi National Museum, a victim of the U.S.-led war which toppled Saddam Hussein in April.
 
In the final days of the war, looters broke into the museum and stole or vandalised thousands of artefacts charting mankind's development in the "Cradle of Civilisation" between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
 
Five months on, the battered museum is emblematic of postwar Iraq. Walking through dark, deserted galleries and up marble staircases smashed by looters, the task of restoring its once glorious international reputation looks daunting.
 
Some of the museum's antiquities have been recovered -- some unscathed, others badly damaged like the Warka vase, an offering to the gods and the most significant piece in the world-renowned museum. Other treasures were hidden in vaults before the war.
 
"Some things are safe and for that we are thankful," said Kamil, our guide on a private tour of the museum. "But the value of the things that have gone is immeasurable, they are unique things, their value is greater than money."  
 
GATHERING DUST
 
Except for two hours in July, when the museum displayed a glittering collection of gold and jewellery known as the Treasure of Nimrud to Iraq's U.S. governor Paul Bremer and other handpicked guests, the building in west Baghdad has been closed to visitors since the war.
 
No date has been set for the reopening of galleries displaying artefacts from Sumer, Akkad and Babylon -- ancient Mesopotamian kingdoms which were the first on earth to develop a written language, study the stars and enforce laws.
 
The rooms are locked, their display cabinets empty, gathering dust. The bronze Statue of Basitki used to be on a podium among other items from the Akkadian kingdom. Now a dark scratch across the floor shows where the thieves hauled its 600 lb (272 kg) weight out of the building.
 
Across the room, a limestone Babylonian lion has been decapitated, and two rough holes are left in the wall after looters ripped out a pair of bronze sitting bulls from 2,500 BC.
 
More than 10,000 items are missing from the museum, including around 30 major pieces such as the Basitki statue and the marble face of a Sumerian woman.
 
An international operation led by the U.S. military to recover stolen items has already scored some major successes. More than 3,400 items from the museum have been recovered -- some found as far afield as Britain, the United States, Italy and Jordan.  
 
HIDDEN FROM VIEW
 
Many are now in a ground floor storage room guarded by an elderly man who smokes cigarettes by the door.
 
The shattered Vase of Warka was returned in the boot of a car as part of a "no-questions-asked" amnesty programme. Other pieces were found on sale in Baghdad, in houses raided by U.S. soldiers or Iraqi police and in cars heading for Iraq's borders.
 
On one table there are dozens of pottery fragments, on another ivory carvings, clay tablets of ancient cuneiform text and one of the missing bronze bulls. In a small cardboard box sits a delicate gold leaf which once hung from the crown of a Sumerian princess.
 
Museum curators, still nervous about poor security in Baghdad, say it is too soon to think about putting them back on show.
 
"I don't know when we can open these back in the galleries again, or bring things up from the vaults," said Kamil, an expert in the cuneiform writing of Mesopotamia.
 
"We want to improve security first, we need to repair the damage here, reinforce the doors and get lasers like other museums have."  
 
WINGED BULLS
 
There is one room which survived the war intact, simply by virtue of the size of its contents.
 
Lining the walls of the Assyrian gallery are giant carved limestone tablets that decorated the palaces of the Assyrian cities of Nimrud and Nineveh. The tablets depict battles with bows and arrows, kings, commanders and servants.
 
Two winged bulls -- with the heads of men and wings of eagles -- were saved from thieves by their 40 tonne weight.
 
A stone statue of King Shalmanezzer III, a warrior king from the ninth century BC, was grabbed from the museum but later returned, in six pieces. It has been repaired and is back on its stand.
 
"We hope to open the Assyrian gallery next month," said Dr Ibrahim Jaber, the head of the museum. "It is one of just 30 galleries at the museum, but for us it is a start."  
 
 
 

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