Tunisian artefacts withdrawn from online sale

The head of Tunisia’s National Heritage Institute had alereted the public that more than 100 objects "of huge historical value" were taken out of the country without permission.
Friday 05/06/2020
JUZ (part) of CORAN. A handwritten note on the first page giving several dates and stamped with the name of Mohamed el-Hadi Bey. (source: https://www.coutaubegarie.com)
JUZ (part) of CORAN. A handwritten note on the first page giving several dates and stamped with the name of Mohamed el-Hadi Bey. (source: https://www.coutaubegarie.com)

TUNIS-Tunisia’s National Heritage Institute (INP) succeeded in having 114 artefacts of the country’s past monarchies withdrawn from online sale at an auction in France.

Ghazi Gherari, ambassador and permanent representative of Tunisia to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), announced on Twitter that "intense efforts have led to the withdrawal of the major pieces of the auction organised by the Paris-based Coutau-Bégarie auction house, on June 11.”

Tunisia’s culture ministry said in a statement it aims "to protect, preserve the cultural, historical, artistic and archaeological heritage.”

The move came after Faouzi Mahfoudh, head of Tunisia’s National Heritage Institute, announced that more than 100 objects "of huge historical value were taken out of the country without any official authorisation in the second half of March, in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown.”

He urged authorities to take the necessary measures to stop the sale of these objects, which he described as having priceless value and being part of the country's history.

Among the 114 objects are ceremonial apparel from the start of the 20th century, religious manuscripts, poetry books, official correspondence, and an ancient Quran that belonged to Mohamed el-Moncef Bey, one of the last rulers of the Husseinite monarchy that ruled Tunisia from 1705 until its independence from France in 1957.

The artefacts, which were removed without permission, are private property belonging to Mohsen Jalouli, who is the grandson of Habib Jalouli (1857-1957), former minister of justice of the Bey of Tunis.