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In 1995, over 1300 artifacts belonging to the original Cesnola Collection of Antiquities from the island of Cyprus came to the Semitic Museum at Harvard University from the Stanford University Museum of Art. Luigi Palma di Cesnola, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, had sold 5000 "duplicate" objects to Governor Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane L. Stanford in 1884. These artifacts formed the nucleus of a museum that the Stanfords wished to establish on the West Coast, together with Stanford University, in memory of their recently deceased adolescent son, Leland Stanford Jr.


Earthquakes in California decided the fate of these Cypriot antiquities: in 1906, over 1100 were completely destroyed, and many others damaged. After the earthquake of 1989, Stanford University decided to part with a portion of the collection when it began extensive renovations to its Art Museum, and the exchange with Harvard occurred. This Cesnola Collection at the Semitic Museum at Harvard University, consists of over 800 ceramic objects, 115 lamps, 21 glass objects, 47 terracotta figurines, 16 small stone statues, 236 metal objects of copper, bronze, and brass. They most probably come from tomb complexes and date from the Early Bronze Age/Early Cypriot to the Byzantine period. These objects are not in pristine condition; however, this fact in itself permits them to be studied in ways not otherwise possible, allowing their use as a teaching collection, as well as for the careful examination of early methodologies and techniques of production.

The instructions and menu below will allow you to view photos and information on specific objects.

In the Semitic Museum registration system, each item in the Cesnola Collection is designated by a three-part number: 1995 (the year of acquisition) . 10 (the accession group) . object number (the serial number of the object).

If you know the number of the object you wish to see, please enter it in the box provided and click the start button.



If you would like to see particular types of objects, please select from the following categories. After you have make your selections, press the "START" button to begin the search.  
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Last Modified: 11/15/99