ancient marble sculpture, ``Left Foot of Zeus,''
which vanished from the Kabul Museum in
Afghanistan in 1993, has turned up in Tokyo and
will be displayed at the Ancient Orient Museum
from next month, sources said Wednesday.
The fate of the sculpture after
it was stolen remains unclear, but last year a
Japanese art dealer bought it from a Pakistani
It was agreed that after display
in Japan, the sculpture would eventually be
returned to Afghanistan.
The foot will be displayed from
May 12 at the museum in the Ikebukuro district.
The ``Left Foot of Zeus'' is
believed to have been carved in the third century
B.C. It is 28.5 centimeters long, 21 cm wide and
includes engravings that symbolize Zeus on the
sandal strap that adorns the foot. The original
statue would have been about 3 meters high. Only
the left foot remains.
Art experts say the sculpture is
a masterpiece of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom that
prospered in the northern part of Afghanistan. It
was excavated by a French team at the Ai-Khanoum
ruins in Afghanistan in the 1960s and had been
displayed in the Kabul Museum until it vanished
eight years ago.
It disappeared after the Kabul
Museum was damaged by bombing.
``I went ahead and purchased it
because I realized it was a famous work of art. I
didn't want it to disappear again,'' said the
Tokyo-based art dealer. He spoke to The Asahi
Shimbun on condition of anonymity.
The dealer then sought advice
from officials of the Ancient Orient Museum in
Tokyo. Although museum officials have decided to
return the remanent to Afghanistan, that
presumably will not happen until after the
domestic situation calms down.
In Afghanistan, the ruling
Taliban recently destroyed two giant ancient
Buddhist statues in central Bamiyan province.
``We want as many people as
possible to understand the circumstances
surrounding Afghan art,'' said museum official
Akira Hori. ``We want to return the sculpture if
circumstances permit. But that could take 20
Kosaku Maeda, professor of Asian
cultural history at Wako University, commented:
``I am extremely pleased this artifact is now
being protected out of good will. It is important
that lost works of art are located quickly and
shown to the public. This time around, the art
dealer and the museum acted appropriately.''