Ancient Cypriote Art in the Severis CollectionVassos Karageorghis (Athens: Severis Foundation, 1999) 328 pp., $45 (available from M.A.M. Books, P.O. Box 21722, 1512 Nicosia, Cyprus; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A few years ago an official of the Archaeological Institute of America publicly chastised Cyprus’s leading archaeologist, Vassos Karageorghis, for including photos of artifacts from private collections in a catalogue of ancient Cypriot figurines. Now Karageorghis (who is a member of this magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board) has gone further, by publishing a volume of Cypriot pottery and figurines that are all from a single private collection. Will the purists who advise us not even to look at unprovenanced artifacts (because their purchase on the antiquities market encourages looting) simply ignore this volume? Will a public spanking once again be Karageorghis’s reward?
The volume catalogues the collection of the Severis family, Greek Cypriots who fled from northern to southern Cyprus when the island was invaded by Turkey in 1974. Many of the pieces were in effect ransomed; if they had not been purchased by responsible Cypriots, they would probably have gone underground and left the island surreptitiously.