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Ancient Kyrgyz Jewelry Sold At Auction Not Officially Exported

BISHKEK -- A Kyrgyz art expert says no official permission was given for the export from Kyrgyzstan of a fifth-century gold neck ornament that was sold at a London auction for 242,500 pounds ($379,500) on December 3.

Bishkek-based art expert Damira Alyshbaeva told RFE/RL on December 4 the jewelry might have been taken out of Kyrgyzstan illegally.

She said when she worked at the Culture Ministry last year a request came from Slovakia for an assessment of the jewelry, which is set with garnets and glass.

Alyshbaeva added that the item was not stolen from any Kyrgyz museums.

The jewelry set appeared in Slovakia in 2013 and was described then as having been owned by a Kyrgyz man in the late 1800s and then his descendants.

The person who sold it at auction on December 3 and the new owner are unknown.