National

Zeus' foot dug up in Afghanistan on show

A Greek stone figure unearthed in Afghanistan some 40 years ago but taken out of the country amid armed strife will be on display in a museum in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district in the near future, according to museum officials. The marble foot of Zeus, dating back to the third century B.C., will be exhibited at the Ancient Orient Museum, they said.

A marble carving of Zeus’ foot, unearthed in Afghanistan, is expected at Tokyo’s Ancient Orient Museum.

The 28-cm-long, 21-cm-wide artifact was found in the ruins at Ai Khanum, northeastern Afghanistan.

It is a part of the left foot of a 3-meter-high seated figure of Zeus.

The stone figure, which had been kept at a museum in Kabul but later disappeared amid the civil strife, was illegally taken out of the country and changed hands in world art markets, they said.

An anonymous benefactor in Tokyo offered to buy it on condition that it be returned to Afghanistan when peace is restored there.

A curator at the Tokyo museum, Akira Hori, learned of the benefactor and negotiated in a bid to hold the exhibition.

The move fits in with the policy of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which has called on museums in Switzerland and other countries to temporarily preserve artifacts smuggled out of Afghanistan.