Getty Returns Bronze Head to Turkey

Head from a Statue of a Youth, 1st century BC-1st century CE. Formerly Getty Museum collection

Still more Getty news: The museum has returned an ancient Roman bronze head to Turkey after the Antiquities Trafficking Unit of the Manhattan District Attorney's Office supplied evidence of its illicit excavation.

This is a cold case, as the head was acquired in J. Paul Getty's time. According to the collection website, the museum purchased the head from Swiss dealer Nicolas Koutoulakis in 1971. The head has since been connected to the archaeological site of Bubon in the southwest part of modern Turkey (Türkiye). Bubon is also believed to be the find spot of the headless statue of an emperor, probably Marcus Aurelius, that was formerly in the Cleveland Museum of Art. That work, purchased in 1986, was seized under warrant in Aug. 2023. At that point the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said the move was part of an "ongoing criminal investigation into a smuggling network involving antiquities looted from Turkey and trafficked through Manhattan."

In case you're wondering, the Getty head doesn't fit the Cleveland body.

Draped Male Figure (Marcus Aurelius), late 2nd century CE. Formerly Cleveland Museum of Art