Werner Forman/Art Resource, NY

The delicate, 2.5-inch-high, eighth-century B.C. ivory carving from Nimrud (Assyrian Kalhu) has been reported missing from the Baghdad Museum.

The current policy of the coalition administration in Iraq is to offer clemency and a small financial reward to people who return looted objects. If the ivory is still in Iraq, this policy may help recover it. However, it is very possible that they, along with other highly prized objects, will be (or have been) smuggled out of the country. Laws now being proposed to prohibit the sale of these objects will only ensure that they will not be recovered quickly; instead, those in possession of them will be forced to keep them secret, perhaps forever.