Athens, June 9 (IANS) An ancient marble head depicting god Hermes in Greek mythology returned to Greece on Monday from the British auction house Bonhams after being illicitly removed from the country in 1987.
“This is a reply to some of the exaggerated claims that we don’ t pursue stolen or auctioned antiquities,” Deputy Culture Minister Nikos Xydakis said at a ceremony held at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Xinhua reported.
The ancient marble head, about 24-cm high, is a unique Roman copy of a major Classical-era Greek sculpture by Alkamenes, originally in the south wing of the Acropolis Propylaea.
The marble head was to be auctioned off at Bonhams in October 2014 and was pulled out at the last moment.
Officials from the Directorate of Documentation and Protection of Cultural Property spotted the artefact on the auction house’s website and immediately contacted Bonhams in order to verify its origin and proceed with immediate withdrawal of the stolen antiquity.
“The effort made by Greece for the protection of cultural heritage is permanent,” stressed Xydakis, underlining that such initiatives have given great prestige in the country and the ability to have significant influence within international organisations.