DMA Returns Stolen Turkish Mosiac

Mosaic bought at auction was found to be stolen

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012  |  Updated 3:50 PM CDT
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DMA Returns Stolen Turkish Mosiac

Orpheus Taming Wild Animals Eastern Roman Empire, near Edessa, A.D. 194 Marble, mosaic Overall: 64 3/4 x 60 in. (1 m 64.46 cm x 1 m 52.4 cm) (Photo courtesy of Dallas Museum of Art)

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The Dallas Museum of Art has returned an ancient mosaic to Turkish officials after discovering it was stolen.

The mosaic was returned to Turkish officials at a ceremony Monday in Dallas. Museum officials also launched an international cultural exchange that will include loaning works of art and sharing expertise. The first initiative will be with Turkey.

The museum bought the roughly 5-foot-by-5-foot Orpheus Mosaic at a public auction in 1999.

The mosaic depicts the mythic poet Orpheus calming wild animals by playing his lyre. It originally decorated the floor of a Roman building.

But the museum discovered evidence earlier this year that it was possibly stolen from an archaeological site. Museum officials then consulted Turkish officials, who provided photographic evidence documenting the looting.

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