An ancient mosaic painting returns to the National Museum in Damascus

On October 7, Syrian expatriate Mohammed Waseem al-Ramli returned a Syrian mosaic painting from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Canada to the National Museum in Damascus. The mosaic painting was smuggled to Canada at the end of 20th century.

The painting, which consists of two parts, formed the floor of a church of convent dating back to the late 5th century/early 6th century AD, measuring a total of 347 by 273.5 centimeters.

The mosaic depicts animals, decorations, and vases. It is made from limestone. It was most likely unearthed in the northwest of Syria between Idleb and Hama.

Director General of Antiquities and Museums Dr. Mahmoud Hamoud said that this mosaic painting was among many paintings stolen from Syria at the end of 1990s. It was confiscated by the Canadian authorities where many of the pieces were returned and this painting remained in the National Museum to the Montreal Museum. 

“Thanks to the efforts of Mohammed Waseem al-Ramli. He was able to get the painting and bring it back at his own expense to Damascus,” said Hamoud, during a ceremony held by the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums. 

Deputy Minister of Culture Tawfiq Al-Imam explained in his speech that the depletion of the Syrian heritage is not new for long have the archaeological sites been stolen, looted and destroyed by terrorist groups. 


O. al-Mohammad