independent

Friday 25 April 2014

Stolen sphinx sculpture recovered

An Egyptian sphinx confiscated by police from a greenhouse near Rome (AP/Courtesy of Italian Finance Police)

A stolen Egyptian granite sculpture of a sphinx that risked ending up on the black market for antiquities is destined instead for a Rome museum.

Italian tax police chief Massimo Rossi said the sphinx, perhaps dating back as far as the 4th century BC, was found on the outskirts of Rome last week.

It was in a box hidden in a greenhouse near an ancient Etruscan necropolis.

Mr Rossi said the sphinx, which is roughly two feet tall and four feet long, probably adorned a 1st century BC Roman villa, in keeping with the fashion then for Egyptian sculpture as decoration.

He said an Italian and a Romanian are being investigated in the probe of suspected illicit trafficking in antiquities.

Villa Giulia museum, which specialises in Etruscan antiquities, will host the sphinx.

Press Association

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