The 12 Buddhas

With the advent of on-line sale websites such as Ebay and Gum Tree, and difficult financial times in general, collection donations of antiquities to the Abbey Museum had all but dried up.

However, excitingly, 2016 seemed to buck the trend and over the last few months the Museum has received donations of three amazing collections.

The First of the Collection Donations

The first included a beautiful slate plaque from Afghanistan depicting twenty Buddhas, a number of alabaster statues and a beautiful carved onyx plate of kissing birds and a kufic script.

The Second of unexpected Collection Donations

Then can you imagine the excitement of being invited into a house and being taken down into a cellar where almost hidden under the dust on a shelf on the back wall was a collection of ancient Roman lamps (one with a decorated image to make you blush, definitely R rated). Beautiful Roman glass and three “stone cannon” balls from Tunisia. This was part of the private collection of a Dutch consul who during his career travelled to many parts of the world.

The third of these Amazing Collection Donations

The third of these recent collection donations was the most significant in size and of immense value. It belonged to a retired German archaeologist who had spent many years travelling with her husband and excavating ancient tells in Syria and Turkey. Their collection has greater significance now as many of the places they worked are now ravaged by war, with sites such as Palmyra, Aleppo and Petra being damaged in the conflict.

This collection includes;

  • exquisite Phoenician glass work
  • marble statue heads from Palmyra
  • ancient Roman and Hittite pottery
  • a coin horde
  • cylinder seals
  • mouth watering bronze statues of a lion and a wolf

Not only are the artefacts significant but we have also been privileged to hear the stories of the excavation and discovery of many of these pieces. It has been an absolute honour to be the recipients of a lifetime’s work and a passion for understanding the history that encompasses this collection. We will be featuring this collection and telling the whole story later.

Are you excited? Do you want to see these collection donations??

Well I am sorry to say there will be a little bit of a wait as the Museum Collection team works through these collections registering, cataloguing and researching the artefacts. But there is a plan afoot and we hope that by early 2017 new displays in the Museum will house some of these amazing pieces so stay tuned, sign up for our e-newsletter, or join the Friends and be one of the first to glimpse these unexpected treasures.