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Documentary Filmmakers protest sale of Iranian relics in London

Tehran, Oct 8, IRNA - Iranian Documentary Filmmakers' Association on Monday voiced protest at sale of Persepolis reliefs in a London auction.

In a statement on Monday the Association said since early 2000s the golden plate of Darius and Iran's document dating back to the Achaemenid era have disappeared, the ancient relics of Jiroft, unearthed in illegal excavations, were smuggled out of the country.

It added that in the period, Iranian history was distorted in the movies Alexandria and 300 where an ugly and unreal image of Iran and Iranians was introduced to the world.

The statement said the sale is slated for Thursday, October 25, and no more than a few weeks remain to the date and judicial efforts to secure restoration of the relic, that is part of an embossed design of the eastern staircase of Apadana Palace, has remained unanswered and apparently one should wait and see sale of part of Iran's historical heritage.

As the body permanently present in the society, environment, cultural heritage and other events related to Iran and Iranian and as the producers of films with similar themes, the Iranian Documentary Filmmakers Association hereby reminds the fact that attention to protection of national cultural heritage as a factor of national unity is duty of all Iranians.

It said that it would secure restoration of the relic at any cost so as to prove righteousness, sensitivity and zeal of Iranians in owning their ancient monuments and show unconditional protection of the country's culture and history. "We will have time enough to deal with legal defects in connection with protection of cultural heritage," it added.

The Christie's auction house announced late August the Achaemenid Relief, depicting the profile head of a Persian guard and estimated to be worth up to Pnds 800,000 (Dlrs 1.6 million), would be the highlight of a strong selection of ancient art to be sold in October.

The relief, it said, was similar in style to other sculptures from Persepolis and dates back to the first half of the 5th century BC. The city, founded by Darius I, flourished at the heart of the Achaemenid Empire for nearly 200 years until 333 BC.

Also in the sale from a similar period and complementing the relief is an Achaemenid silver-gilt bowl decorated with palmettes, worth at Pnds 30,000-Pnds 35,000) and a similarly-priced powerful pre-Achaemenid silver and gold upper part of a bearded male figure.

The ownership of the Achaemenid Relief was contested by Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization at London's High Court in January that originally delayed the auction.

To prove Iran's ownership, a documentary film and pictures of the excavations carried out in Persepolis and a complete report of the archeology team working there were submitted to the court.

... Payvand News - 10/9/07 ... --

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