Ancient mosaic returned to Naitonal Museum thanks to expat’s efforts

Damascus, SANA – Expatriate Mohammad Waseem al-Ramli returned an ancient Syrian mosaic from Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to the National Museum in Damascus.

The mosaic, which was unveiled during an event on Monday organized by the Directorate-General for Antiquities and Museums (DGAM), consists of two parts which had been smuggled to Canada at the end of the 20th century.

The two parts once formed the floor of a church of convent dating back to the late 5th century/early 6th century AD, measuring a total of 347 by 273.5 centimeters.

The mosaic, which depicts animals, decorations, and vases, is made from limestone, and was most likely unearthed in the northwest of Syria between Idleb and Hama.

Director General of the DGAM Mahmoud Hammoud said this mosaic is one of several pieces that had been stolen from Syria during the late 1990s and were seized by the Canadian authorities, with most of the other pieces having been returned while those two remained on loan to the museum in Montreal, which refused to return them despite repeated official requests under the pretext of the war on Syria.

Hammoud said that the mosaic was returned thanks to the efforts of al-Ramli, who managed to acquire them and ship them to Syria at his own expense.

Hazem Sabbagh

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