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BOWLING GREEN, OH: November 27, 2018. Twelve pieces of ancient mosaics in Bowling Green State University’s (BGSU) art collection have been returned to Turkey after a 53-year absence courtesy of Turkish Airlines.

BGSU and the Directorate General for Cultural Heritage and Museums of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey reached an agreement for the return of the mosaics last May.

mosaicsAcquired by the university in 1965 for US$35,000 from the Peter Marks Works of Art gallery in New York, the mosaics (pictured on display at BGSU) had long been thought to have originated from Antioch, in modern-day Turkey. However in 2012 new research by then-BGSU faculty member Stephanie Langin-Hooper and Rebecca Molholt of Brown University suggested the mosaics were in fact from Zeugma, Turkey.

Additional research and consultation with scholars, art experts and representatives from the Republic of Turkey confirmed the mosaics are very likely from Zeugma. BGSU says the provenance of the pieces prior to their acquisition likely will never be known as some mosaics from Zeugma were illegally excavated and put into the international art market.

The mosaics will now be exhibited at the Zeugma Mosaic Museum in Gaziantep, Turkey. This will allow the historic artifacts to be appreciated and studied where they originated and be enjoyed by a much wider audience, according to BGSU president Rodney Rogers.

“As a public university, we have a special obligation to contribute to the public good. That obligation extends to the global community,” Rogers said. “The preservation and care of the mosaics has been a priority for BGSU for the last 53 years. We have relied upon the expertise of scholars to guide us, both when we acquired the pieces and now.

“Thanks to the work of Dr. Langin-Hooper and others, it is clear today that the best place for these precious artifacts is back in the Republic of Turkey at the Zeugma Mosaic Museum. We greatly appreciate the collegiality of the Turkish Ministry of Culture in working with us through this process,” he continued.

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