Historic funerary vase returned to Italy

Today the Netherlands is returning a historic funerary vase to Italy. The vase, which is part of the Dutch national collection, was until recently held by the Museum of Antiquities (RMO) in Leiden.

The funerary vase was purchased by the museum in 1988 as an addition to the national collection. The Italian authorities recently submitted a request for its return, having established that the vase was illegally excavated in Italy and was unlawfully removed from the country.

Scylla askos

The funerary vase, known as a Scylla askos, is made of earthenware. It originates from Canosa, Southern Italy, and dates to around 400-300 BC. The vase depicts the nymph Scylla and is decorated with dogs, a woman and child, Amazons, and the head of a duck. These types of vases were used in funeral rituals and then placed with the deceased in the grave.

Voluntary return

The State of the Netherlands is voluntarily handing the vase over to the Italian authorities, in response to their request that it be returned. The Italian authorities have convincingly demonstrated that the item left Italy unlawfully. The return of the vase to Italy is in the spirit of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums, which states that museums should engage in dialogue on matters related to return and restitution. The procedure for disposal from the Dutch national collection laid down in the Heritage Act (Erfgoedwet) has been followed. The return is also in line with European and international legislation, such as the Directive on returning cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of another EU country.