Iraq succeed in retrieving the Tablet of Gilgamesh from the United States after three decades. Unknown smugglers, potentially with state affiliations, removed the Tablet from Iraq Museum to take it to a museum in Washington.
Iraq officially received a small tablet with a 3,500-year age, featuring a section of Gilgamesh, an old religious mythological poem. The traditional treasure was plundered from the county more than thirty years ago.
The Tablet is worth more than $1.7 million and is one of the oldest remaining pieces of literary artifacts. Besides its literary value, the Gilgamesh tablet is also a renown religious writing. It was first in the 19th century when the thousands-year-old tablet was discovered in the wreckage of Assyrian King Assur Banipal’s library.
Observers believe that the tablet went through a 30-year exile during the 1991 Gulf War. It was in Iraqi national museum when unknown groups stole and smuggled out the tablet. Authorities assume that smugglers traded the Dream tablet into the US 14 years later. Hobby Lobby, then, purchased and displayed it in the company’s “Museum of the Bible” in the capital.
Two years ago, federal authorities from Homeland Security Investigation confiscated the Gilgamesh product from the Hobby Lobby. The confiscation received approval in the current year by a judicial court in New York.
Iraq’s foreign minister introduced three antiquities that it retrieved from the United States and the UK. The Gilgamesh tablet was one among the three antique products that Iraq succeeded in recovering ownership. A Sumerian tablet and Sumerian ram’s head were the two others.
The Tablet of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest literary and religious artefacts with an age exceeding three thousand years. Cultural critics blast the western powers for looting the East off its cultural and traditional treasures for their unilateral interests.
Tablet of Gilgamesh; One Among Many
Iraqi Minister of Culture and Antiquities described the Tablet of Gilgamesh in a press conference as having immense value. He said that the Tablet is one of the earliest literary works in the world’s history. “The message sent to all those who smuggle our antiquities and have sold them at international auctions: ultimately, the fate of such operations is restitution,” Hassan Nazim further explained.
The effort to retrieve the priceless objects has been the pinnacle of long years of coordination with the United States on the one side and Iraq on the other.
Baghdad has rescued 18 thousand antiquities in 2021, almost all from the United States in the middle of current year. Iraqi Prime Minister returned most items in his flight back from a visit there. Al-Kadhemi visited Washington five months ago where he talked with US President on multiple issues.
20 years ago, the Tablet was in the United Kingdom as observer said. In 2003, a US art trader purchased it from a person in the British capital. He then sent it to the United States without disclosing its actual essence to customs. American antique dealers purchase the invaluable artefact for $50,000 four years later using a fake document of authenticity.
The Gilgamesh Tablet registered a new price in 2014 where Hobby Lobby paid $1.67 million to the owners. The Green family are devout Evangelicals who wished to showcase the Tablet as a religious artifact at their Bible Museum. Three years later, a museum director grew suspicious about its authenticity, believing that the paperwork was lacking.
The traces of UK and US in most traditional and cultural smugglings signals the necessity to investigate the roots. Colonialism continues in its cultural and societal forms decades after the end of conventional British domination.