Ceramics Stolen from Groot Constantia Manor House

  • Posted: May 23, 2012

Official Statement

Iziko Museums is responsible for the management of the historic precinct at the Groot Constantia Estate.  Upon opening the Manor House on the morning of 21 May 2012, staff discovered that certain valuable items from the collection had been stolen. The matter has been reported to the South African Police Services, Iziko Museums is working closely with senior police officials and a full-scale investigation is currently underway. 

The theft of heritage objects is an international phenomenon. Museums across the globe are battling an ever increasing number of targeted onslaughts. Iziko Museums proactively seeks to protect and secure its collections from such occurrences. Over the last three years, Iziko Museums has proactively increased security at all their sites, within the scope of available resources and assistance from our principle, Department of Art and Culture, as well as the Department of Public Works. Irrespective of the security measures put in place, international cartels are still able to infiltrate and circumvent these as is evident in other recent thefts across the globe.

This morning, Iziko Museums in consultation the South African Police Service and their insurance company, took a strategic decision to release images of the items stolen from the Iziko Groot Constantia Manor House. Reports alleging that the estimated value of these objects exceed R50 million, cannot be confirmed at this point in time.

The Manor House will be closed until further notice. The other facilities at Groot Constantia Wine Estate and in the historic precinct will remain open as usual.

PLATTER, Chinese porcelain, decorated in famille verte enamels, late 17th century. Restored. 
BOTTLE, blue and white Japanese Arita porcelain, mid 17th century.
PLATTER, Chinese blue and white porcelain, late 17th–early 18th century. Marked with an artemisia leaf in double ring.
GU-SHAPED BEAKER VASE (gu refers to an archaic bronze shape), Chinese blue and white porcelain, late 17th–early 18th century. Marked with one of the Eight Precious Objects or ba bao symbols, the pearl or zhu in a double ring. The pearl is a good luck symbol.
VASE, Chinese porcelain with sang-de-boeuf or oxblood-red glaze, Qing (Ch'ing) dynasty monochrome ware, 18th–19th century.
PAIR OF LARGE LIDDED VASES, Chinese blue and white porcelain, Kangxi (K'ang-hisi) period (1662–1722).
PLATTER, blue and white Japanese Arita porcelain, late 17th century. Decorated with the monogram of the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) or Dutch East India Company. Made to order for the Company and its officials.
LIDDED VASE, Chinese porcelain, decorated in famille rose enamels, Qianlong (Ch'ien Lung) period (1736–1795).

Click images to go to gallery 





Editors Notes:
Iziko Museums (Iziko) operates 11 national museums, a Planetarium and the newly renovated Social History Centre in Cape Town. The museums that make up Iziko have their own history and character, presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections which reflect our diverse African heritage. Iziko is a public entity of the Department of Art and Culture and non-profit organisation which brings together these museums under a single governance and leadership structure. The organisation allows *free access to all individuals on commemorative days, as well as unlimited free access to individuals aged 18 and under (excluding the Castle of Good Hope and Planetarium).

COMMEMORATIVE DAYS – FREE ENTRANCE (excluding Iziko Planetarium and Castle of Good Hope)

  • Human Rights Day: 21 March
  • Freedom Day: 27 April
  • International Museum Day: 25 May
  • Africa Day: 25 May
  • Youth Day: 16 June
  • National Women’s Day: 9 August
  • Heritage Week: 19 – 25 September
  • National Aids Awareness Day: 1 December
  • Emancipation Day: 1 December
  • Day of Reconciliation: 16 December


Issued by:

Rooksana Omar
Chief Executive Officer
Iziko Museums


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