Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Blank cartridges and a fake manuscript

APPREHENDED: Turkish police seize ancient manuscript stolen from Syrian museum (Anadolu Agency/Hurriyet Daily News). The Turkish authorities continue to round up fake ancient artifacts before they reach the antiquities market.

This codex bears the hallmarks of a crude modern fake. Most importantly, the writing on the page shown in the photo consists of lines of meaningless sequences of Hebrew letters with frequent repetition.

There are other suspicious features. The letters are written in gold leaf. The material and cut of the pages is similar to other fakes. There is a drawing, in this case of a wyvern-like creature. The drawing doesn't look very old to me, but I'm not an art historian.

The police also recovered (from the car of the suspects) a gun that fires blanks. Metaphor Watch?

The information that the book was stolen from a Syrian museum comes from the apprehended suspects, who may not be very reliable sources for provenance information. It would not surprise me, though, if it did come from Syria.

Many such artifacts have been apprehended recently in Turkey. The only ones I think are likely to be genuine are some coins. For past apprehensions, start here and keep following the links back. And this post on recent Hebrew forgeries from Arab countries seems relevant too.

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