December 26, 2009

Louvre returns ancient artefacts to Egypt

Posted at 7:19 pm in Similar cases

More coverage of the return by the Louvre of Egyptian artefacts.

Press TV

Louvre returns Egypt’s ancient artworks
Tue, 15 Dec 2009 18:34:26 GMT

The Louvre Museum has returned Egypt’s ancient wall paintings after the country severed ties with the French art hub in October.

Egypt retrieved the fragments after President Hosni Mubarak checked one of them during a visit with his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, Artdaily reported.

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said in a statement that the pieces were returned as a “testament to France’s desire to … fight against the illegal trafficking of cultural goods, which France is itself a victim of, as well as the excellence of French-Egyptian cooperation in the realm of archaeology.”

The artworks were stolen from a 3,200-year-old tomb in the Valley of the Kings near the ancient temple city of Luxor in the 1980s.

France however says that the works were acquired by the Louvre “in good faith” in 2000 and 2003, but there were doubts that whether the pieces had been taken illegally.

Head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawass suspended cooperation with the Louvre earlier this year, after the museum refused to return what the country charges are stolen artifacts.

Hawass began to recover Egyptian antiquities since he took the helm of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities in 2002.

The bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin’s Neues Museum and the Rosetta stone at London’s British Museum have been among his top priorities.


Agence France Presse

Fresco fragments returned to Egypt from France
(AFP) – 23 hours ago

CAIRO — The Egyptian Museum has received five ancient fresco pieces that France’s Louvre Museum returned under the threat of a boycott, Egypt’s antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said on Wednesday.

The fragments, taken from the tomb of an ancient Egyptian noble, arrived in the museum on Tuesday as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, Hawass said in a statement.

The Louvre said it decided to return the fragments after Hawass severed ties with the museum in October. The fragments had been stolen in 1980, according to Hawass.

Egypt’s powerful chief archaeologist had used the same approach to press for the return of ancient artefacts in the past, but his latest move was his most high-profile yet.

Hawass, who says he has overseen the return of 5,000 relics since he took his post in 2002, is now demanding the return of an iconic bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin’s Neues Museum he says was illegally taken from Egypt.

He also wants back the Rosetta Stone, a basalt slab inscribed with ancient Greek and Egyptian scripts that has been housed in the British Museum since 1802.

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