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Planelles, Manuel

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El País - Spain | 04/04/2006

Cordoba mosque beams withdrawn from auction

The world-famous auctioneers Christie's agreed on Tuesday March 4 to suspend the sale of five carved wooden beams from the Great Mosque of Cordoba. One of the most greatest examples of Umayyad architecture (785-987), the mosque was converted into a cathedral in 1236. "The cathedral's chapter argues that it is the rightful owner of the beams and that they cannot therefore be auctioned," writes the paper. "It has agreed to compensate the current owner of the beams, if it can be proved he/she acquired them in good faith and that he/she will lose money if the auction is stopped. Christie's says it has postponed the auction only in order to start talks, whereas the mosque's chapter hopes to buy back the pieces." The Spanish government has asked for the auction to be suspended, and ordered the police to investigate the provenance of the beams.

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