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“Mistress” and “Slave” return to Greece from the Museum “Getty”

25 September 2011 / 19:09:49  GRReporter
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Two monuments of culture from ancient times return to Greece from the Museum "Getty". A column with inscriptions and fragments of tomb relief. But good news does not stop there. A Memorandum of Cooperation signed yesterday by the Minister of Culture Pavlos Geroulanos and the Museum Director James Kiuno, puts a final end to the illegal trade in antiquities.

The memorandum provides a clear and institutionalized framework for cooperation and exchange of cultural values ​​with the Museum "Getty". The aim of the cooperation is "the systematic strengthening of research, the presentation of the Greek cultural heritage and the commitment to preventing illegal trade in antiquities." The archaeological agency has been working quietly and methodically for one year to achieve this.

The column with inscriptions was presented in the museum and is particularly valuable. Secretary General in the Ministry of Culture Lina Mendoni, a specialist in ancient inscriptions, says that there is a text on the front and on both sides of the column.

"It's a calendar of feasts and sacrifices performed in Torikos, Attica region, in honor of local deities and heroes." Its great significance lies in the fact that this  is a text containing "information of a religious nature and therefore it is extremely valuable, because the history of religion is made up entirely on the basis of such texts."

Lina Mendoni stresses that listing of the holidays with a particular chronology in Attic months is very important. It consists of 65 verses, ie the text is large compared with similar findings and is dated from the classical era (430-420 BC)..

Its story is very interesting. The text has been given by a scientist from Lavrio (a town in Attica region) to the American student David Ogden in the 60s of last century. The Greek had copied it from the column. Subsequently it was presented to the famous archaeologist Vanderpul who pubished it in a scientific journal in 1973, six years before the Museum "Getty" acquired it. The fact that Ogden owned it, though there is no photography of it then, means that it was in Greece until the 60 years of the 20th century.

The parts of the tombstone relief returning are one whole with a fragment belonging to the Museum "Pavlos and Alexandra Kanellopoulou" in Athens. Identification has been done in 1975. The relief depicts two female figures, the mistress seated left and the slave in front of her, leaning cheek on her right hand. The work represents an outstanding specimen of a sculpture of an Attic workshop. It has been dated from the late 5th century BC. Greece had submitted a formal request for its return some years ago.


In these difficult days that the country is experiencing, the signing of this important cooperation agreement with the Museum "Getty" is a ray of light for the Minister Geroulanos. Under this contract, as he says " an important strategic goal has been achieved: the continued presence of Greece in one of the most important museums, in one of the most important cities of the United States, in the center of many events and the international media industry.


We worked hard for a long time for the signing of this agreement which provides for cooperation and assistance in the field of expertise, but also in the expositions. The presence of Greece in future events at the museum will be noticeable."

Tags: Museum Getty cultural monuments antiques Memorandum of cooperation Pavlos Geroulanos
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