One month after the return of ancient artifacts of Bukan County, northwestern province of West Azarbaijan, from Switzerland to Iran, the National Museum of Iran’s director Jebrael Nokandeh announced that an exhibition featuring the artworks, titled ‘Returned Bricks of Qalaichi Bukan’, will soon be held in the country.
The Swiss Ambassador to Tehran Markus Leitner voiced his readiness to cooperate with Iran in returning other historical artifacts to Iran as well.
A total of 49 works of ancient art that had been looted and smuggled out of Iran some four decades ago have recently been returned home with the aid of Swiss officials.
“A collection of glazed bricks, which are attributed to Qalaichi [archaeological site] in Bukan, dating back to the 7th or 8th centuries BCE, were returned home from Switzerland,” Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan said on December 20.
Leitner also congratulated the reopening of the museum after a long period of closure due to the coronavirus outbreak, and praised the return of the ancient collection of bricks, saying, “This is very important and satisfying for me and my country. Because we believe that there is no room for smuggled historical and cultural artifacts in Switzerland.”
The Swiss ambassador welcomed the proposal to expand ties between the museums and added, “We attach great value to the role of museums in ensuring world peace and the Swiss Embassy will make special efforts to provide the necessary conditions for developing relations and cooperation between the museums of the two countries.”
The artifacts are connected to the Mannai civilization, which once flourished in northwestern Iran in the first millennium BCE. Mannai, also spelled Manna, was an ancient country surrounded by three major powers of the time, namely, Assyria, Urartu, and Media.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Mannaeans are first recorded in the annals of the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III (reigned 858–824 BCE) and are last mentioned in Urartu by Rusa II (reigned 685–645 BCE) and in Assyria by Esarhaddon (reigned 680–669 BCE). With the intrusion of the Scythians and the rise of the Medes in the 7th century, the Manneans lost their identity and were subsumed under the term Medes.
Source: Iran Daily