More than $1 million worth of antiques from the Met, Yale Art Gallery collections are seized for…

A “head of a veiled woman”, from the Met, which authorities say will be returned to Libya.
Manhattan District Attorney’s Office

“Bust of a bearded man”, from the Met, to be returned by the authorities to Libya.
Manhattan District Attorney’s Office

Items from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Yale University Art Gallery were turned over to authorities after investigations found they were stolen from their home states, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

“These are more than beautiful artifacts – they are windows into thousands of years of culture and deserve to be sent back to their homelands,” said Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.

“As part of an ongoing criminal investigation into looted antiquities in the Middle East and North Africa, the Antiquities Trafficking Unit has uncovered evidence that the two antiquities repatriated today were looted from Cyrene , an archaeological site located near present-day Shahat, Libya,” he added. a March 30 statement read in reference to work at the Met.

“Dating from around 350 BCE, the head of a veiled woman is valued at nearly half a million dollars and was seized from the Metropolitan Museum of Art where it had been on display since 1998. Prior to its display at the Met, the piece had been looted from a tomb in Cyrene, smuggled to Egypt by an antiquarian trafficker known to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, then shipped to New York. Dating from 100-300 CE, the Bust of a bearded man is valued at $30,000 and was also looted from Cyrene, where it came from a rich tomb of small niches. The coin was smuggled from Libya to Geneva, Switzerland before arriving in Manhattan.”

In January of this year, the Manhattan DA’s office returned another marble antiquity looted from Cyrene worth $1.2 million, the Veiled head of a womanaccording to the press release.

Thirteen other items from the Yale University Art Gallery were also seized by authorities. Many coins are related to Subhash Kapoor, the Manhattan dealer accused of trafficking in looted antiques worth about $145 million. He has been serving a sentence in India since 2011 for theft, smuggling and trafficking in artifacts.

The seized Yale artifacts are valued at around $1.29 million, officials say. Twelve objects came from India and one object came from Burma.

Nine of the objects had been donated to Yale by the Rubin-Ladd Foundation, notes the New York Times. The university released a statement saying that “having received information indicating that works of art from its collections were stolen in their country of origin, delivered the works on March 30, 2022 to the office of the New York District Attorney, who will coordinate the repatriation of the objects later This year. Yale was pleased to work in cooperation with the AD‘s Office in this important matter.”

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