More coverage of the decision by the Metropolitan Museum to return some artefacts  from Tutankhamun’s tomb to Egypt.
Met to return 19 objects to Egypt
January 11th, 2011 6:14 pm ET
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently agreed to return nineteen objects to Egypt.
All from the tomb of the boy king Tutankhamun, the objects range in size from small studies to three-quarter-inch jewelry elements. According to Zahi Hawass, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, these nineteen objects were allegedly stolen from their home country earlier in the 20th century when excavations of the tomb were under way. The artifacts include a blue lapis lazuli sphinx originally a charm on a bracelet, a reconstructed blue faience bead collar, and a bronze figurine of a dog, among others.
The artifacts are now on display at the Discovery Times Square Exposition for the wildly successful exhibit Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs. Once that closes on January 17, the objects will be displayed at the Met for another six months in a special exhibition, and finally will be returned to the Egyptian Museum by the end of the year. Hawass says the objects will eventually make their home in the Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza, currently under construction and meant to open next year.
Hawass has lobbied long and hard to retrieve what he believes are illegally-obtained works of Egyptian antiquity. The British Museum refuses to give up the Rosetta Stone; the Berlin Neues Museum still holds on to the famous bust of Nefertiti. To what extent should museums rid themselves of their collections in an effort to keep artifacts in their home country?
The Met has made a valiant gesture in returning these very small objects to their home country. In the debate in repatriation, who is right? Should ancient artifacts be kept in their home country? Or is it a disservice to the public to remove a beloved object from the protective cultural institution it has resided in for so many years? Should art lovers be forced to travel far and wide in order to experience history and culture?
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