1 Jul 2002

Assyrian Gypsum Relief

Assyrian Gypsum Relief  Image

Assyrian Gypsum Relief

In July 2002 The Art Loss Register was approached to search an ancient relief of Near Eastern origin against its database of stolen and missing artefacts.

The Art Loss Register undertook a considerable amount of research on the relief and consulted a number of leading international archaeological academics as to its authentication. With the help of the University of Buffalo, New York the Art Loss Register was able to establish that the relief was an Assyrian Gypsum relief from the palace of Assurnasirpal II at Nimrud, Mesopotamia, having been excavated by an Iraqi/Polish team of archaeologists working in this area in the 1970’s. 

The Art Loss Register was aware of the potential market value of the relief. If authentic, it was probably worth up to £1 million. The historical and cultural importance of a piece was certainly evident as it clearly originated from one of the major Assyrian palace complexes such as those at Nineveh and Nimrud. The issue of the recent occurrences of looting from these sites during and after the First Gulf War of 1991 was raised and the appearance of comparable reliefs being offered for sale in Europe and America.