Tiara of Saitaferne

Last updated
Tiara of Saitaferne Gold Tiara of Saitaferne.jpg
Tiara of Saitaferne

The Tiara of Saitaferne (also Saitaphernes [1] or Saitapharnes) is a tiara in gold sheet, acquired by the Louvre in 1896, afterwards demonstrated to be fake by its creator.

Contents

History

On April 1, 1896, [1] the Louvre announced that it had purchased a gold tiara that had belonged to the Scythian king, Saitapharnes. The museum had purchased the artifact for 200,000 gold French francs. A Greek inscription on the tiara read "The council and citizens of Olbia honour the great and invincible King Saitapharnes". To the experts at the Louvre, the tiara confirmed an episode dating to the late 3rd-century BCE or early 2nd-century BCE. According to the story, Saitapharnes had besieged the Greek colony of Olbia and was convinced to leave the city in peace only through the offering of expensive gifts.

Shortly after the Louvre exhibited the tiara, a number of experts challenged its authenticity. Among them was the German archaeologist Adolf Furtwängler [1] who noted many stylistic problems with the tiara's design and questioned the lack of aging apparent on the artifact. For several years, the Louvre defended the authenticity of its treasure and even prepared a magnificent book on the treasure. Eventually, news of the story reached Odessa.

In 1894, two years before the Louvre acquisition, two dealers, Schapschelle Hochmann and his brother Leiba, had commissioned Israel Rouchomovsky, a skilled goldsmith from Odessa, to make the tiara. They let him believe that it was intended as a gift for an archaeologist friend and provided Rouchomovsky with details from recent excavations to aid his design. It wasn't until news of the Louvre scandal reached him that Rouchomovsky learned of the fate of his creation. He traveled to Paris in 1903 [2] and presented himself as the maker of the tiara. Experts at the museum refused to believe him until he demonstrated the ability to reproduce a portion of the crown. Embarrassed, the museum hid the object away in storage. The Louvre had been fooled in one of the greatest archeological scandals of the century; Rouchomovsky, on the other hand, became famous for his work and earned a gold medal at the Paris Salon of Decorative Arts. He lived in Paris until his death in 1934.

In 1954, the tiara was included in a "Salon of Fakes" at the Louvre. [1] In 1997, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem borrowed the Tiara of Saitapharnes from the Louvre for an exhibition on Israel Rouchomovsky. [1] In 2009, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta borrowed the tiara for a Louvre exhibition. In 2014, a memorial plaque was unveiled on the wall of Rouchomovsky's workshop in Odessa where the tiara was created.[ citation needed ] The "LWL-Museum für Archäologie" in Herne, Germany borrowed the tiara for the opening weeks of their new exhibition Irrtümer & Fälschungen der Archäologie (English: Errors & Forgeries in Archaeology) in March 2018.

A copy of the tiara is on display in the British Museum. [3] As of 2009, another was on display at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. [1]

Related Research Articles

National Museum of Iraq museum in Baghdad

The Iraq Museum is the national museum of Iraq, a museum located in Baghdad, Iraq. It is sometimes mistakenly called the National Museum of Iraq, a recent phenomena influenced by other nations' naming of their national museums; but The Iraq Museum's name is inspired by the name of The British Museum. The Iraq Museum contains precious relics from the Mesopotamian, Babylonian and Persian civilization. It was looted during and after the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Despite international efforts, only some of the stolen artifacts were returned. After being closed for many years while being refurbished, and rarely open for public viewing, the museum was officially reopened in February 2015.

James Ossuary limestone box asserted to be that which originally held the bones of James of the New Testament, but contested as a forgery

The James Ossuary is a 1st-century limestone box that was used for containing the bones of the dead. An Aramaic inscription in the Hebrew alphabet meaning "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" is cut into one side of the box. The inscription is considered significant because, if genuine, it might provide archaeological evidence for Jesus of Nazareth. However, while the ossuary itself is accepted as authentic to the time period, the inscription itself could be a modern forgery.

Nebra sky disk Artifact found in Nebra, Germany

The Nebra sky disk is a bronze disk of around 30 centimeters diameter and a weight of 2.2 kilograms (4.9 lb), having a blue-green patina and inlaid with gold symbols. These symbols are interpreted generally as the Sun or full moon, a lunar crescent, and stars. Two golden arcs along the sides, interpreted to mark the angle between the solstices, were added later. A final addition was another arc at the bottom surrounded with multiple strokes.

Archaeological forgery is the manufacture of supposedly ancient items that are sold to the antiquities market and may even end up in the collections of museums. It is related to art forgery.

Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau French orientalist and archaeologist

Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau was a noted French Orientalist and archaeologist.

Olbia (archaeological site) Archaeological site of Miletian Black Sea colony

Pontic Olbia or simply Olbia is an archaeological site of an ancient Greek city on the shore of the Southern Bug estuary in Ukraine, near village of Parutyne. The archaeological site is protected as the National Historic and Archaeological Preserve. The preserve is a research and science institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. In 1938–1993 it was part of the NASU Institute of Archaeology as a department.

Israel Museum Israels national museum

The Israel Museum was established in 1965 as Israel's foremost cultural institution and one of the world’s leading encyclopaedic museums. It is situated on a hill in the Givat Ram neighbourhood of Jerusalem, adjacent to the Bible Lands Museum, the Knesset, the Israeli Supreme Court, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Herodium national park in the occupied Palestinian West Bank

Herodium (Latin), Herodeion, best known in Israel as Herodion and Har Hordus, and in Arabic as Jabal al-Fureidis is a truncated-cone-shaped hill, 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Jerusalem and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) southeast of Bethlehem, in the Judaean Desert, West Bank. Herod the Great built a palace fortress and a small town at Herodium, between 23 and 15 BCE, and is believed to have been buried there. Herodium is 758 meters (2,487 ft) above sea level, the highest peak in the Judaean Desert. Today, the site is controlled by the Israel National Parks Authority and is a designated national park. Israel asserts that it is entitled to work the area under the Oslo Accords, but Palestinian authorities say Israel has no right to undertake digs there or remove artifacts to Israel discovered in excavations there.

Karun Treasure Treasure amassed by Croesus

Karun Treasure is the name given to a collection of 363 valuable Lydian artifacts dating from the 7th century BC and originating from Uşak Province in western Turkey, which were the subject of a legal battle between Turkey and New York Metropolitan Museum of Art between 1987–1993 and which were returned to Turkey in 1993 after the Museum admitted it had known the objects were stolen when they had purchased them. The collection is alternatively known as the Lydian Hoard. The items are exhibited in the Uşak Museum of Archaeology.

Ziwiye hoard castle

The Ziwiye hoard is a treasure hoard containing gold, silver, and ivory objects, also including a few Luristan pieces, that was uncovered on the south shore of Lake Urmia in Ziwiyeh, Kurdistan Province, Iran, in 1947.

Varna Necropolis burial site in Bulgaria

The Varna Necropolis is a burial site in the western industrial zone of Varna, internationally considered one of the key archaeological sites in world prehistory. The oldest gold treasure in the world, dating from 4,600 BC to 4,200 BC, was discovered at the site.

Meskalamdug Sumerian king

Meskalamdug was an early ruler of the First Dynasty of Ur in the 26th century BCE. He does not appear in the Sumerian King List, but is known from his tomb, grave PG 755 at the Royal Cemetery at Ur, and from bead inscriptions found in Mari, mentioning him as King.

Barry Clifford Underwater archeologist, discovered pirate ship Whydah

Barry Clifford is an underwater archaeological explorer best known for discovering the remains of Samuel Bellamy's wrecked pirate ship Whydah [pronounced wih-duh], the only fully verified and authenticated pirate shipwreck of the Golden Age of Piracy ever discovered in the world – as such, artifacts from the wreck provide historians with unique insights into the material, political and social culture of early 18th-century piracy.

The Theseus Ring is a gold signet ring that dates back to the 15th-century BC, in the Mycenaean period, though the subject is typical of Minoan art. The ring is gold and measures 2.7 x 1.8 cm. On the ring is a depiction of a bull-leaping scene, which includes a lion to the left and what may be a tree on the right. It comes from the area of Anafiotika in the Plaka, the ancient city center of Athens, where it was found in a pile of earth during building operations. It now belongs to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Malagana

Malagana, also known as the Malagana Treasure is an archaeological site of Colombia named after the same name sugarcane estate where it was accidentally discovered in 1992. During a few days after its discovery, the place was subject to a large scale looting with a rough estimated of 4 tons of pre-Columbian artifacts illegally removed from the burial mounds. A rescue archaeological mission was sent by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (ICANH), led by archaeologist Marianne Cardale de Schrimpff. Archaeological excavations at the site established a previously unknown cultural complex, designated as Malagana-Sonsoid, that dates between 300 BC to 300 AD

Tillya Tepe Archaeological site in Jowzjan

Tillya tepe, Tillia tepe or Tillā tapa is an archaeological site in the northern Afghanistan province of Jowzjan near Sheberghan, excavated in 1978 by a Soviet-Afghan team led by the Greek-Russian archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi, a year before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The hoard is often known as the Bactrian gold.

Oxus Treasure

The Oxus treasure is a collection of about 180 surviving pieces of metalwork in gold and silver, the majority rather small, plus perhaps about 200 coins, from the Achaemenid Persian period which were found by the Oxus river about 1877-1880. The exact place and date of the find remain unclear, and it is likely that many other pieces from the hoard were melted down for bullion; early reports suggest there were originally some 1500 coins, and mention types of metalwork that are not among the surviving pieces. The metalwork is believed to date from the sixth to fourth centuries BC, but the coins show a greater range, with some of those believed to belong to the treasure coming from around 200 BC. The most likely origin for the treasure is that it belonged to a temple, where votive offerings were deposited over a long period. How it came to be deposited is unknown.

Sea of Galilee Boat

The Ancient Galilee Boat, also known as the Jesus Boat, is an ancient fishing boat from the 1st century AD, discovered in 1986 on the north-west shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. The remains of the boat, 27 feet long, 7.5 feet wide and with a maximum preserved height of 4.3 feet, first appeared during a drought, when the waters of the Sea receded. Other than the dating, there is no evidence connecting the boat to Jesus or his disciples.

Uşak Museum of Archaeology

The Uşak Museum of Archaeology is an archaeological museum in Uşak in western Turkey. Founded on May 23, 1970, the museum is best known for its exhibitions of Karun treasure.

Archaeological remnants of the Jerusalem Temple

Several kinds of archaeological remnants of the Jerusalem Temple exist. Those for what is customarily called Solomon's Temple are indirect and some are challenged. There is extensive physical evidence for the temple called the Second Temple that was built by returning exiles around 516 BCE and stood until its destruction by Rome in the year 70 CE.

References