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[BKARTS] Dental school may have ended up with stolen book



Dental school may have ended up with stolen book

LONDON (Kyodo) Oxford University will ask Nippon Dental University in
Tokyo to clarify whether it owns a groundbreaking 16th century book
that was stolen from Oxford in the early 1990s, the university said
Thursday.

According to news reports Wednesday in Britain, the two-volume set of
the 1552 edition of Andreas Vesalius's "De Humani Corporis Fabrica"
("On the fabric of the Human Body") is believed to have been bought
legitimately by Nippon Dental University.

The book was stolen from the Christ Church College library between
1993 and 1995.

A lecturer who smuggled rare books from Christ Church's library was
convicted of theft and sentenced to two years in prison.

Oxford University has retrieved all the stolen books except that by
Vesalius. Like the other books, the Vesalius was sold at an auction
in London for £7,000 to an American who later sold it to a dealer in
Tokyo.

Christ Church discovered the identity of the Japanese dealer after
the Antiquarian Book Sellers Association of America intervened. The
college wrote to the Japanese dealer in Tokyo but the dealer refused
to reveal the identity of his buyer.

Oliver O'Donovan, professor of moral and pastoral theology and the
librarian at Christ Church, said Oxford will contact Nippon Dental
University and ascertain whether it has the stolen book, of which
there are thought to be only around 12 copies in the world.

"I know there's speculation that a certain institution bought it, but
we have no definite confirmation," O'Donovan told Kyodo News.
"There's no doubt that the dealer in Tokyo bought our book.

"The question is whether the institution being named (in news
accounts) is the institution which bought it from him. They should be
able to tell us that."

According to an article in The Times newspaper on Wednesday, Izumi
Nakahara, president of Nippon Dental University, told reporters his
library was collecting the works of Vesalius and that the 1552
edition was an essential part of the collection. He said it was
bought by fair means and is legally owned by the university.

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