The Golden Lyre of Ur

Expert Lecture at the KAICIID on 20 October 2016

An innovative prizewinning peace project was introduced at the International Dialogue Centre’s (KAICIID) latest ‘Religionen im Dialog’ (Religions in Dialogue) open-house lecture. Florian Warum introduced the German-speaking audience to the multicultural project: ‘The Reconstruction of the Golden Lyre of Ur‘. The 4,700 year-old Golden Lyre of Ur was rediscovered in the 1930s in the course of archaeological excavations at the Royal Cemetery of Ur in Iraq, the birthplace of Abraham, the patriarch revered in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Sumerian lyre, bearing a bullhead symbol, was displayed the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad, before being completely destroyed in 2003 when the museum was plundered. A group of craftsmen started to meticulously reconstruct the ancient instrument and have in the meantime gained considerable attention with their project, including recognition in their nomination for the 2015 Austrian Foreign Ministry’s Intercultural Achievement Award. The artisans, Tyrolean harp maker Norbert Maier, goldsmith Peter Pfötscher, South Tyrolean woodcarver Filip Moroder Doss and Iraqi mosaic builder and architect Mohamad Al Janabi, wish to recreate the lyre and return it to the Iraqi people. The project is also a fascinating interreligious and intercultural collaboration, since the team is composed of Christian, Buddhist, Muslim and atheist craftspeople, who have united to restore an historical artefact, while highlighting Iraq’s role as the cradle of civilisations.