Islamic Republic asked Britain to keep Cyrus the Great Cylinder for a longer period; Iranian cultural figures called it a bad idea
Dr John Curtis carrying Cyrus the Great Cylinder in a protective case in National Museum of Iran, September 2010.
Picture courtesy of the Persian Service of Mehr News Agency (Click to enlarge)
LONDON, (CAIS) -- CAIS was informed that the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has requested an extension of loan of the Cyrus the Great Cylinder. The Cyrus Cylinder was loaned to the National Museum of Iran in early September for a period of four months.
The extension of the loaning this priceless artefact is a matter of great concern, particularly when the Islamic Republic’s National Security and Foreign Policy Council voted in favour of completely cutting ties with the United Kingdom on Saturday.
CAIS contacted the British Museum with regard to the above concern and the rumour that is currently circulating in Iran that the British Museum loaned a replica of the Cyrus Cylinder. The following is the British Museum’s response, the contents of which are self-explanatory:
The request for an extension of the loan of the Cyrus Cylinder is currently being considered by the Trustees of the British Museum, but no agreement has yet been reached.
This is a statement from the British Museum regarding the authenticity of the loan:
The exhibition of the Cyrus Cylinder opened at the National Museum in Tehran on 12th September 2010. It has proved to be very popular, and 77,366 visitors saw the exhibition between 12th September and 22nd October.
In view of the great success of the exhibition, it is very much to be regretted that reports have been circulating on the internet that it is a copy of the Cyrus Cylinder that has been sent to Tehran. The Trustees of the British Museum would like to deny this in the strongest possible terms. Before the exhibition opened, a panel of Iranian experts was invited to inspect the Cylinder and they confirmed its authenticity.
The misunderstanding has arisen because of recent conservation work on the cylinder, which has led to the ends of the cylinder looking different in various photographs. Conservation work on this and other pieces in the British Museum is an ongoing process, designed to make objects as stable as possible and render them fit for to travel.