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9 March 2004
Ancient Iraqi carving goes on tour of UK museums

A 4,000-year-old Iraqi relief carving of a Babylonian goddess is to go on a tour of UK museums. The Queen of the Night, dated to between 1800 and 1750 BCE, was bought by the British Museum from a private collector for 1.5m, and will be loaned to other museums at weekends.
     British Museum director Neil MacGregor said "The Queen of the Night is a timely reminder that what is now Iraq was once the cradle of civilisation."
     It's hoped that once the security situation in Iraq improves, the carving could be loaned to a museum there. But in the meantime it will travel to Glasgow's Burrell Collection and the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens in March, the Horniman Museum in London in April and Leicester's New Walk Museum in May, prior to going on extended display at the National Museum and Gallery of Wales in Cardiff and the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
     The Queen of the Night is one of just two major artworks surviving from the reign of the Old Babylonian King Hammurabi, the other being the the Code of Hammurabi which is housed in Le Louvre in Paris, France.
     The British Museum intends to send other artefacts out to other UK museums on short tours, details of which will be released later in the year.

Source: BBC (8 March 2004)

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