Cyrus Cylinder coming to Getty Villa in 2013 as part of U.S. tour


The Cyrus Cylinder -- the famous ancient Babylonian artifact that is one of the British Museum’s most prized possessions -- will come to the Getty Villa in 2013 as part of a U.S. tour to five museums. The object is expected to go on display at the Getty Villa from Oct. 2 through Dec. 2, 2013.

The tour will begin in March at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington and then proceed to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and finally the Getty in Pacific Palisades.

A spokeswoman for the Getty Museum confirmed the object’s 2013 visit to Los Angeles. News of the tour had been reported Tuesday by the British press and the New York Times.


The Cyrus Cylinder is a clay object -- now broken into sections -- that is inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform with the story of Cyrus, the king of Persia, and his conquest of Babylon as well as the capture of Nabonidus, the last Babylonian king. It is believed to date from 539 to 530 BC and comes from what is now southern Iraq.

The cylinder was at the center of a controversy in 2009 when the British Museum delayed its loan of the object to the National Museum of Iran following the upheavals surrounding the country’s elections. The cylinder eventually traveled to Iran in 2010.


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