紐約大都會博物館 (Met) 於二月一日與意大利政府達成協議，將送回一隻懷疑賊贓的古希臘酒瓶予意大利當局。這隻由最著名的希臘花瓶繪畫家Euphronios於2,500年前繪製的酒瓶名為Krater，昔日乃用作調酒之用，並被譽為世上最精美的古希臘酒瓶。Met於1971年透過藝術品買賣商Robert Hecht以一百萬美金收購這隻酒瓶。酒瓶一公開展出，隨即引起大眾對其出處的議論，意大利當局亦關注事件，並連同美國聯邦政府一起追查其來源。經過了三十多年的爭議，Met終以「藝術交流」的形式和名義完壁歸趙。Met將把這隻酒瓶連同其他15件古董銀器、4件古代器皿歸還給意大利，而意大利方面則將向Met借出其他國寶藝術品作長期借展。此外Met將不需負上任何法律上的責任，並以此結束三十年來的爭議。對於世界性的大美術館收藏其他國家的國寶，社會上一直議論紛紛，如希臘與大英博物館就Elgin Marbles的爭論，以至近三、四年來Getty Museum與意大利政府的官司等，而中國現時亦有大量古董暗地裡往外輸出。
After 30 years of dispute between the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met) and the Italian Government, the Met finally agreed on 1 Feb 2006 to relinquish ownership of a 2,500-year-old Greek vase, which has long contended to be stolen from an Etruscan tomb and smuggled from the country, to the Italian government. The vase, known as krater, was painted by the greatest greek vase painter Euphronios. It was considered one of the finest in the world and was used in the old time to mix wine and water. When the Met bought it in 1972 for more than $1 million from the dealer Robert Hecht whose practices were already under scrutiny, its appearance stunned the art world and led to front-page headlines about its provenance. Italy almost immediately began an investigation, with help in the United States from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Over the years, the case became emblematic of the ethical questions surrounding the acquisition of ancient art by major museums. Now, the Met has agreed with Italy on a proposal under which the vase, 15 pieces of Sicilian silver and four ancient vessels would be returned to Italy in exchange for long-term loans of other prized antiquities, and the Met would bear no responsibility for the objects' illegal origins, asserting that the museum acquired them in good faith.
Image 1: Image from Associated Press
Imge 2 & 3: 希臘與大英博物館爭論中的Elgin Marbles，希臘人稱之為 Parthenon Marbles。