VIENNA (AFP) – Vienna’s Kunstkammer gallery opened Friday after a 10-year restoration with an exhibition featuring a golden sculpture thought to be the world’s most precious saltcellar.
Crowds flocked to see the over 2,000 treasures from the Hapsburg collections, from tapestries and bronze statuettes to intricate works of gold, silver and ivory, and exotic objects including the alleged horn of a unicorn.
The highlight of the exhibition however, is the 16th-century “Saliera,” a sumptuous gold and enamel creation representing the god Neptune and goddess Tellus and created by Italian artist Benvenuto Cellini for King Francis I of France.
The “Saliera,” worth over 50 million euros ($65 million), made headlines when it was snatched in 2003 from Vienna’s Art History Museum only to be found three years later, in a box buried in a forest northwest of Vienna.
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