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President presented with a beaker as a gift to Lithuania
Thursday, June 12, Vilnius – President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus accepted the gilt silver beaker dated 1560 presented by brothers George, Nicolas and Oliver Ortiz as a gift to Lithuania.
“A historic relic, a beaker of the XVI century, comes back to Lithuania. This means that Lithuania becomes richer, more spiritually than financially”, President Adamkus said, adding that this gift is invaluable to Lithuania from the historical perspective.
The Head of State noted the beaker’s historical importance for Lithuania. “In the years of occupation, cultural wealth was pillaged off museums, churches and archives; therefore, every testimony of history that comes back to Lithuania is exceptional to us,” the President said.
President Adamkus also noted that the Sapieha family which the beaker is associated with had done very much for the sake of Lithuania’s culture and history. According to the President, many museums of the world would be proud of having this kind of work of art.
The President thanked the businessmen who had kept this relic for Lithuania, and expressed belief that this noble gesture would serve as an example for future patrons of the arts.
Brothers Ortiz underlined that their gift was an expression of gratitude to Lithuania and Lithuanian people for their openness and kindness.
In the deed of gift they wrote that they highly appreciated the merits of the Sapieha family for the development, diplomacy, religious tolerance, education, culture and the rule of law of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and being fully aware of the priceless historical, artistic and cultural value of the Sapiehas’ beaker which changed ownership many times in these long years they present it as a gift to Lithuania and hand it over to the President of the Republic of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus, kindly asking him to make sure that the beaker is displayed publicly so that the people of Lithuania can have access to it.
The beaker dated 1560 is believed to have belonged to Gregory Sapieha, the younger brother of Lew Sapieha. It is engraved with gilt foliage decorations and encircled by two mystical animals. The upper part of the beaker is engraved with initials and a coat of arms. It also has an inscription in the early Slavonic language, which reads: “The cup was made for master Gregory of Orsha, for friendship to those who drink from it for the good of their souls, in the year 1560, the month of March, on the first day”. The beaker is 20 cm high, and it weighs 550 g.
The beaker was placed in the custody of Lithuanian Art Museum, and will be exhibited in the Rulers Palace once the Palace is opened for the public.  The public can see the beaker from 6 July in the Museum of Applied Arts, as part of exposition of items collected for the Rulers Palace.

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