Centuries-old manuscripts and scrolls are being sold for a few hundred dollars on the internet, raising questions about the conditions of their acquisition.
The country’s rich antiques are the newest casualties of Ethiopia’s year-long battle in Tigray.
According to accounts, a torrent of historic Ethiopian artifacts have appeared for sale on platforms such as eBay, sparking concerns that they may have been looted from churches during the Tigray conflict.
Dr. Hagos Abrha Abay, an Ethiopian philologist, provided the first complete research of the looting, demonstrating that churches, monasteries, and other historically significant sites were targeted throughout the war.
Ethiopian cultural commodities were trafficked in the past, but since the TPLF’s battle with the federal government began, there has been a boom in ancient artifacts for sale.
After being approached by the Times newspaper, the American corporation eBay withdrew a number of rare Ethiopian antiques from its marketplace with no proof of provenance.
Although it is unknown how many pieces were taken, professors have advised internet users to report any Ethiopian object advertisements to the INTERPOL Stolen Works of Art Database.
Ethiopia’s government and Tigray forces have yet to reach an agreement on a cease-fire.