Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Recovery of Persian Achaemenid Bas Relief Panel

Posted on: February 26, 2014 by

The Police have recovered one of two items stolen from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) in the autumn of 2011.  The recovered item is a limestone Persian Achaemenid Bas Relief panel dating from the 5th century BC and depicting the head of a guard. Remarkably, the thief was able to steal the small-scale (21 x 22.5 cm) panel despite comprehensive video surveillance of the MMFA.

Following the theft, the Sûreté du Québec and Royal Canadian Mounted Police together with the MMFA’s insurer AXA ART Insurance started an extensive investigation to relocate the artefact.  Last week, the Police announced that the panel, which was valued at 1.2 million Canadian dollars, was found almost 2,000 miles away in a private apartment in Edmonton.

The panel has now been returned to the MMFA where it can be enjoyed by the public once again.  The two suspects, who are charged with possession of a controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime, will appear in Edmonton Provincial Court on the 19th March 2014.

The second artefact, a marble head dating from the Roman Empire valued at 40,000 Canadian dollars, is unfortunately still missing.

The Recovered Achaemenid Limestone Bas Relief