Joint Statement by the Schøyen Collection and University College London

Over the period 1995-1996 UCL accepted custody of an important collection of Aramaic incantation Bowls from the Schøyen Collection for the purposes of carrying out research. In 2003 questions were raised in the media with regard to the origin of these Bowls, as a result of which UCL, with the agreement of the Schøyen Collection, initiated an inquiry into their provenance.

Following a searching investigation by an eminent panel of experts, and further enquiries of its own, UCL is pleased to announce that no claims adverse to the Schøyen Collection's right and title have been made or intimated. Having made all the enquiries that it reasonably could UCL has no basis for concluding that title is vested other than in the Schøyen Collection. UCL has now returned the Bowls to the Schøyen Collection and has agreed to pay a sum in respect of its possession of them.

The investigations it has carried out have provided valuable lessons which will greatly assist UCL in developing new guidelines for its stewardship of cultural objects.

Note to Editors:

For background on incantation bowls, visit the Magical Literature collection section of this website.

The Schøyen Collection crosses borders and unites cultures, religions and unique materials found nowhere else. The Collection, based in London and Oslo, contains over 20,000 significant manuscripts and other artefacts of major cultural importance and is an important part of the world’s heritage.

There is no public collection that has the Schøyen Collection’s unique array of manuscripts from all the greatest manuscript hoards, including the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Cairo Genizah of Hebrew MSS, The Oxyrhynchus hoard of classical papyri, The Dishna Biblical papyri, The Nag Hammadi Gnostic papyri, the Dunhuang hoard of Buddhist MSS, and many others. Nor is there one with such a variety, geographically, linguistically and textually, and of scripts and writing materials, covering so a great span of time — 5,000 years of history.

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