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Unesco

In full: the text of the US Customs import restrictions on Italian archaeological material

The restrictions were imposed following a 1999 request made by Italy under Article 9 of the Unesco Convention

In January the United States imposed import restrictions on archaeological material from Italy dating from the 9th century BC to the 4th century AD following a 1999 request made by Italy under Article 9 of the Unesco Convention (The Art Newspaper, No.111, February 2001, pp.1,5). The US Department of State stated:“The cultural patrimony of Italy is in jeopardy from the pillage of archaeological materials.” The import restrictions are now in place and listed artefacts may not legally be imported into the US without a valid export licence from Italy. If an importer cannot produce the required evidence proving that the objects have been imported legally, the objects will be seized, forfeited to the US and then offered for return to Italy. The restrictions will remain in force for five years and will then be subject to review.

I. Stone

A. Sculpture

1. Architectural Elements in marble, limestone, steatite, basalt, tufa and other types of stone. Types include abacus, acroterion, antefix, architrave, bacino, base, capital, caryatid, coffer, clipeus, column, crowning, fountain, frieze, pediment, drip molding, pilaster, mask, corbel, metope, mosaic and inlay, pluteus, pulvinar, puteal, jamb, tile, telamon, tympanum, trabeation, transenna, basin, wellhead. Approximate date: 7th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

2. Architectural and non-architectural Relief Sculpture in marble and other stone. Types include carved slabs with figural, vegetative, floral, or decorative motifs, sometimes inscribed, and carved relief vases. Used for architectural decoration, funerary, votive, or commemorative monuments. Approximate date: 2nd century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

3. Monuments in marble, limestone, and other types of stone. Types include altar and shrine, cippus, funerary stele, and milestones with figural reliefs or decorative moldings. Some have dedicatory inscriptions. Approximate date: 7th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

4. Sepulchers in marble, peperino, alabaster, limestone, and tufa. Types of burial containers including urns, caskets, and sarcophagi. Some have figural scenes carved in relief or decorative moldings. Approximate date: 7th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

5. Large Statuary primarily in marble, including fragments of statues. Subject matter includes human and animal figures and groups of figures in the round. Common types are large-scale, free-standing statuary from approximately 1 m to 2.5 m in height and life-size busts (head and shoulders of an individual). Approximate date: 6th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

II. Metal

A. Sculpture

1. Large Statuary. Large-scale statues or fragments of statues in bronze or other metals including animal figures, human and divine figures, and life-size metal busts or portrait heads. Approximate date: 6th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

2. Small Statuary. Iron Age Sardinian (Nuragic) and Etruscan figurines in bronze and other metals. Approximate date: 8th to 3rd century B.C.

B. Vessels. Open and closed vessels in bronze, gold, or silver, often with incised, embossed, and molded decoration in the shape of human or animal figures. Shapes include bowls, buckets, craters, pitchers, cups, and lamps, etc. Approximate date: 8th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

C. Personal Ornaments. Etruscan and Italic rings, necklaces, earrings, crowns, bracelets, buckles, belts, pins, chains of gold, silver, bronze, and iron. Approximate date: 8th to 3rd century B.C.

D. Weapons and Armor. Body armor, including helmets, cuirasses, shin guards, and shields, and horse armor often decorated with elaborate engraved, embossed, or perforated designs. Elaborate horse armor is also produced during the same period. Both launching weapons (spears and javelins) and weapons for hand to hand combat (swords, daggers, etc.). Approximate date: 8th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

E. Inscribed or Decorated Sheet Metal Engraved inscriptions often found in funerary contexts and thin metal sheets with engraved or impressed designs often used as attachments to furniture. Approximate date: 7th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

III. Ceramic

A. Sculpture

1. Architectural Elements. Baked clay (terracotta) elements used to decorate buildings. These are most often found in Etruria, Latium, Sicily, and Magna Graecia. Elements include acroteria, antefixes, relief plaques, metopes, and revetments. Approximate date: 7th century to 1st century B.C.

2. Monuments. Altars and urns decorated with relief scenes. Approximate date: 5th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

3. Large Statuary. Large-scale human and animal figures, life-size portrait heads, and life-size votive objects, including fragments of statues. These are often found in temples and sanctuaries in Magna Graecia, Etruria, and Latium. Approximate date: 7th century to 1st century B.C.

4. Objects with Relief Decoration. Plaques, tables, and other terracotta objects (masks) with relief decoration. Approximate date: 6th to 4th century B.C.

B. Vessels

1. Local Vessels

a. Etruscan. Decorated ceramic vessels produced by Etruscan culture, including Villanovan; Orientalizing pottery with imitations of Near Eastern designs painted on local hand-made vessels; archaic Etruscan painted pottery with polychrome decoration; archaic Etruscan painted pottery with polychrome decoration; funerary and cinerary vessels; Italo-Geometric pottery where production from local Etruscan workshops imitated Greek Geometric; bucchero made with a characteristic soft black paste and polished surface whose highly decorative shapes often imitate metal vessels; local imitations of black and red figure Attic; Etruscan imitations of Corinthian pottery; pottery with black glaze and orange stripes that imitates Ionic pottery; amphora in the Pontic style with painted figural decoration made by a single workshop of immigrant Ionic potters in Vulci, Etruria; Caeretan hydria attributed to a workshop of Greek immigrants working near Caere, Etruria. Approximate date: 9th century to 3rd century B.C.

b. South Italian and Italic. Decorated vessels locally produced, including hand-made Daunian pottery from northern Apulia; Italiote red figure pottery of Attic derivation produced in Apulian, Lucania, Campania, and Paestum; wheel-made pottery with elaborate applied relief and painted decoration made in Centuripe, Catania; pottery with plastic and polychrome decoration produced in Sicily and Magna Graecia; gilded pottery with a characteristic ochre yellow color imitating artifacts in bronze, mainly found in tombs in Apulia; Faliscan pottery in imitation of Attic red figure, often in oversize vessels; Gnathian pottery, named after Egnatia in Apulia and decorated in white and yellow with touches of red over a black background; overpainted pottery with a shiny black glaze; pottery overpainted with white, yellow, or red designs in imitation of Attic red figure; Messapian pottery, locally produced in Apulia and decorated with monochrome (one color) or bichrome painting (two color). Approximate date: 8th to 3rd century B.C.

2. Imported Vessels

a. Attic Black Figure, Red Figure and White Ground Pottery. These are made in a specific set of shapes (amphorae, craters, hydriae, oinochoi, kylikes) decorated with black painted figures on a clear clay ground (Black Figure), decorative elements in reserve with background fired black (Red Figure), and multi-colored figures painted on a white ground (White Ground). Attic pottery was widely exported, particularly to southern Italy, where it is commonly found in burials. Approximate date: 6th to 4th century B.C.

b. Corinthian Pottery. Painted pottery made in Corinth in a specific range of shapes for perfume and unguents and for drinking or pouring liquids. The very characteristic painted and incised designs depict figural scenes, rows of animals, and floral decoration. Corinthian pottery was exported throughout the Mediterranean, but particularly to Etruria and southern Italy. Approximate date: 8th to 6th century B.C.

IV. Glass

A. Architectural Elements. Mosaics and glass windows. Approximate date: 4th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

B. Sculpture

1. Intarsia. Cut or carved glass decorative elements to inset in furniture. Approximate date: 2nd century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

2. Small Statuary. Glass animal statuettes as amulets or knickknacks. Approximate date: 2nd century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

V. Painting

A. Wall Painting

1. Domestic and Public Wall Painting. Beginning in about 200 B.C. wall painting in private and public buildings is characterized by imitation of stucco or marble design. Later developments include “architectural” style, “ornamental” style, and “fantastic” style. Triumphal painting in temples and public buildings illustrate military campaigns and conquered lands. Approximate date: 3rd century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

2. Tomb Paintings. Early tomb paintings are primarily found in Etruria and Southern Italy. These paintings were directly influenced by Greek painters, but illustrate local style. Scenes often illustrate funerary celebrations, rites, symbols, and daily events. Roman funerary painting is also inspired by Greek painting, but also develops from domestic and public types of wall painting. Approximate date: 6th century B.C. to 4th century A.D.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Not to be taken to the US'