美国将被盗的哥伦布手书归还意大利

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一名军警站在一封哥伦布写于1493年的信件的旁边,这封信描述了发现新大陆的经过。 (© AP Images)

美国将一封哥伦布(Christopher Columbus)在1493年写的信件归还意大利。一个艺术品调查小组发现这封信件在几十年前被盗。

在这封八页长的信件中,哥伦布向西班牙国王费迪南德(King Ferdinand)和王后伊莎贝拉(Queen Isabella)宣布他发现了新世界,并描述了“遍布指向星空的种类最繁多的树木”的岛屿。

这封信几乎和它声名远扬的笔者一样走遍世界。

佛罗伦萨的里卡迪亚那(Riccardiana)图书馆馆长富尔维奥·斯塔凯提(Fulvio Stacchetti) 说,大概在1950年至1951年期间,当里卡迪亚那图书馆把原件借给罗马(Rome)的国家图书馆管理机构时,这封信被人用一件伪造品替换。

在1990年,这封信被出售给瑞士的一位珍本书籍收藏者,然后在1992年纽约(New York)的一次拍卖会上被另一位收藏家买走。

最终在2004年,当它的最后一位所有者将其遗赠给国会图书馆(Library of Congress)时,这封信件到达了华盛顿。美国官员说,这位所有者和国会图书馆当时相信它的来源是合法的,并以正当的方式收藏了这封信件。

根据美国法律规定,被盗的文化财产必须归还给其合法所有者。

意大利文化部长达里奥·弗朗西切尼(Dario Franceschini)和美国大使约翰·菲利普斯(John Phillips)共同举行了一个新闻发布会庆祝这封信的回归之旅。

弗朗西切尼说:“五百年后,[信件]完成了[与哥伦布]同样的往返行程。”

意大利军警(Carabinieri)艺术品调查组估计这封信价值一百万欧元(约合113万美元)。

美国与国际人员密切合作,将文化遗产物品归还给其来源国。

本文参考了美联社(Associated Press)的报道。

Mystery solved: Stolen Christopher Columbus letter goes back to Italy


The United States has returned to Italy a letter written by Christopher Columbus in 1493. A squad of art investigators discovered the letter had been stolen decades ago.

The eight-page letter, in which Columbus announced his discovery of the New World to Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, described islands “full of the greatest variety of trees reaching to the stars.”

The letter became almost as well-traveled as its famous author.

Fulvio Stacchetti, head of Florence’s Riccardiana library, said the letter was replaced by a forgery, probably in 1950–1951, when Riccardiana lent the original to national library authorities in Rome.

The letter was sold to a rare book collector in Switzerland in 1990, then purchased by another collector at a 1992 auction in New York.

Eventually, the letter ended up in Washington, when it was bequeathed by the estate of its final owner to the Library of Congress in 2004. That owner and the Library of Congress acquired it in good faith, believing its provenance was legitimate, U.S. officials said.

Under U.S. law, stolen cultural property must be returned to its rightful owners.

The letter’s return voyage was celebrated at a news conference, held by Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini with U.S. Ambassador John Phillips by his side.

“Five hundred years later, [the letter] did the same trip [as Columbus], round trip,” Franceschini said.

Italy’s Carabinieri art squad estimates the letter’s value at 1 million euros ($1.13 million).

The U.S. works closely with international colleagues to restore cultural heritage items to their countries of origin.

This article draws on reports from the Associated Press.



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