This Encyclopedia constitutes a preliminary source of information on various aspects of the transnational trade in cultural objects. It comprises an inter-linked collection of short entries, grouped together and organized according to the headings Case Studies, Theory & Method and Terminology. They are further sorted by Place and by Subject.
Each entry synthesizes information taken from what are considered to be reliable sources, and presents a bibliography of primary publications to facilitate further and more in-depth research. The authors endeavour to prepare texts that are factually accurate and objective accounts, and the texts are not therefore indicative of an author’s personal opinion.
The Encyclopedia is a work in progress, and new entries will be added (and current entries updated as appropriate) as time permits. It is intended primarily as a resource for academic research into the trade, but has also been assembled with provenance research in mind, and should appeal to a broader constituency of interested readers. The authors endeavour to attribute any images that are used, but we should be contacted by the owners of unattributed images.
Ixkun Stela 5
In 1972 looters heated this Maya monument and doused it in water, causing it to break into easily-transportable fragments.
Las Limas Monument 1
Well-known Olmec greenstone statue stolen from a Mexican museum and abandoned in a Texas hotel room after traffickers were unable to sell it.
Mosaic Maya Mask
Mosaic stone mask said to have been looted from a Mexican cave and now in the collection of Dumbarton Oaks.
Long Island University Hillwood Museum theft
Egyptian artefacts stolen from Hillwood Museum and sold at Christie’s...
Wang Chuzhi Tomb Panel
Marble relief panel stolen from Chinese tomb in 1994 recovered from Christie’s New York in 2001.
A small bronze statue of Zeus stolen from Rome’s National Museum of Italy in 1980 was sold at Sotheby’s New York on 9 December 2004.
Tomb of Mutirdis Relief Fragment
Stolen Egyptian tomb relief recovered from Bonhams in 2008.
Marcus Aurelius head
Marble head stolen from Algerian museum recovered from Christie’s New York in 2004.
Saqqara Royal Duck Vessels
Two stolen alabaster duck vessels returned to Egypt in 2008, one from Christie’s...
A Maya codex of questionable authenticity that appeared on the market in 1971.