I am sure I wasn’t the only one sick to my stomach when Obama presented the genocidal sharia state so important an archaeological find. Fact is, it wasn’t. It was a phony, just like Obama.
Remember that ‘ancient’ artifact that US President Hussein Obama gave Iranian President Hassan Rohani during their meeting at the UN? Well, it’s not so ancient. In fact, it’s about as ‘ancient’ as my 6th child – vintage 1999.
Not only is it a fake, it’s a bad fake. The saga of the griffin, from its production to its much-touted return to Iranian President Rouhani during his recent visit to New York, demonstrates how fakers of ancient art fool the gullible wealthy with the connivance of museums and scholars. More profoundly, it shows how ancient (or not so ancient) artifacts are made to carry cultural and diplomatic weight, in this case for a deeply problematic opening in relations between the United States and Iran.
A definitive publication by retired Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Oscar White Muscarella clearly demonstrates that what is alleged by even the U.S. State Department to be a 2,700-year-old artifact from Iran is actually a modern fake, dating back to, at the earliest, 1999. The griffin was first seen in Geneva in the gallery of prominent Iranian art dealers and in 2002 was purchased by a wealthy New York collector, who not coincidentally was a trustee of the Met. Not confident about the artifact’s bona fides, the collector asked the dealers to provide authentication. Three experts were produced who promptly attested that the object had been produced in western Iran and dated to ca. 700 B.C.E.
But when the griffin arrived in New York in 2003, one of the Iranian-Swiss dealers was arrested by the Department of Homeland Security on the charge of falsifying the object’s place of origin. The next year he pleaded guilty to falsely stating that the griffin had originated in Syria rather than Iran and received one year of probation and a fine of $5,000. The buyer got her money back. The artifact was seized but the market, the game, was barely disturbed.
Then the griffin went into Homeland Security’s deep freeze, residing in a Queens warehouse until this fall. While the artifact was inaccessible to scholars and other investigators, a single photograph made available to Muscarella convinced him that it was a fake. Indeed, anyone with passing familiarity with ancient Near Eastern art, or any kind of art, would become suspicious at the merest glance.
The artifact is made of silver sections joined together to form a winged griffin that walks on splayed, clawed feet. Most improbable are three funnels, two on the sides coming out of the body below the wings and one that protrudes painfully from the creature’s rear end. The griffin-as-saxophone design has no parallels in the ancient world, except perhaps among other objects “said to be” from western Iran that have appeared on the antiquities market. It looks crude and absurd and should have led the buyer to ask what sort of nonsense was being pushed on her.
This would have been a great story if we could have reported that Obama tricked the Iranians. But he didn’t. The story only shows that Obama is gullible, and when it comes to Iran, we knew that already.
Pamela Geller is the Editor of Atlas Shrugs.