Showing results 1 - 12 of 130 for the tag: Egypt.

April 16, 2014

Brit fined for attempting to auction looted Egyptian artefacts

Posted at 8:09 am in Similar cases

This case intrigues me for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the level of the fine is tiny – considering the crime involved & the value of the artefacts, it counts somewhat lower than a slap on the wrist in the overall scheme of things.

Secondly, the auction house (In this case Christies, although in my past experience, none of the big auction houses have a particularly good reputation when it comes to looted artefacts) takes the moral high ground, making a point about how their due diligence is responsible for bringing about this case. Now, unless I’m misunderstanding the article completely (or the article is incorrect), the sequence of events is rather different to this.

Firstly, Christies lists the looted artefacts. Then, the true origin of the artefacts is spotted by Marcel Marée, a curator at the British Museum, who goes on to alert Christies of this. Finally, Christies contacts the Metropolitan Police’s Arts and Antiques Unit. I see nothing here that really makes me confident in Christies due diligence – the only reason the items didn’t end up at auction was because they happened to be spotted by someone who was entirely independent of the Auction House, who then took their own effort to alert them.

The fact also needs to be noted that the items were smuggled from Egypt in a suitcase on a flight – more needs to be done by countries to protect the egress of looted artefacts through their borders, helping to stop the trade by making it much more difficult for international buyers.

Lot 61 An Egyptian painted limestone relief fragment 1550.1069 B.C

Lot 61 An Egyptian painted limestone relief fragment 1550.1069 B.C

From:
Ahram Online

Briton fined £500 by UK court for attempted sale of smuggled Egypt antiquities
Amer Sultan in London
Tuesday 15 Apr 2014

A UK court has fined a British citizen £500 after he admitted having attempted to sell a number of ill-gotten Egyptian antiquities.

Neil Kingsbury, who had previously worked on BBC documentary series about the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and other early archaeological adventures, was arrested after six items were identified in Christie’s London antiquities sale last year.
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April 10, 2014

How Monica Hanna used Twitter to fight art looters

Posted at 4:55 pm in Similar cases

Archaeologist Monica Hanna recently received a Beacon Award from Saving Antiquities for Everybody for her work in highlighting the looting of antiquities in Egypt. This article looks at how she used twitter to help to publicise the looting to the outside world.

Monica Hanna

Monica Hanna

From:
New York Times

Taking on Art Looters on Twitter
By TOM MASHBERGAPRIL 9, 2014

Monica Hanna stood inside the Malawi National Museum in Minya, Egypt, last August, armed only with a cellphone and her Twitter account, as looters ran rampant. Nearly all the objects she had loved since childhood — mummies and amulets, scarabs and carved ibises — were gone. In their place lay shattered glass, shards of pottery, splintered wood and the charred remains of a royal sarcophagus.

The thieves had stolen all but a few dozen of the museum’s 1,100 artifacts, leaving behind some statues and painted coffins that were too heavy to cart off. Dr. Hanna, a 30-year-old archaeologist, sent out a tweet pleading for help. Soon, she, some colleagues and local police officers were hauling the surviving relics to a truck as men fired automatic weapons nearby.
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October 30, 2013

Zahi Hawass at the centre of controversy over potential bribes paid by National Geographic

Posted at 3:17 pm in Similar cases

Egypt’s most publicly know archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, has never shied away from controversy. His demands for the restitution of disputed Egyptian artefacts irritated many museums around the world.

At present, I’m struggling to work out whether this particular story is a real story or not. If Hawass was involved in taking bribes to allow National Geographic to film, then it is damaging for both his & their credibility. However, there sees to be a lot in this story that is speculative – and there are many people who have an axe to grind with Hawass.

Time will tell whether there is really a story here or not.

Zahi Hawass

Zahi Hawass

From:
Independent

US investigates National Geographic over ‘corrupt payments’ to Egypt’s keeper of antiquities
David Usborne
Monday 28 October 2013

National Geographic may be facing an unexpected challenge to its reputation as one of the world’s most respected educational and scientific institutions amid reports that it is under investigation in the United States over its ties to a former Egyptian official who for years held the keys to his country’s many popular antiquities.

At issue is whether the Washington-based organisation, which in recent years has rapidly extended its public reach beyond its well-known glossy magazine to a cable television channel and other enterprises, violated strict US laws on payments to officials of foreign governments in contracts starting in 2001 with Dr Zahi Hawass, who, until the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, was the government’s sole gatekeeper to all things ancient Egypt.
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May 30, 2013

Chinese Schoolboy exposed as vandal at Egyptian temple

Posted at 1:02 pm in Similar cases

The Chinese Schoolboy who carved his name on a sculpture on the wall of an ancient temple in Egypt has had his name exposed online & is now being subjected to online harassment as a result. While graffiti on ancient sites is something to be condemned, it is hardly a new problem – even Byron (who much criticised Elgin’s removal of the Parthenon Sculptures) carved his initials on the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio.

Having said this, Egypt’s antiquities currently face far bigger problems than initials scratched on a wall – and perhaps focusing people’s attentions on this distracts from the enormous scale of the actual issues faced at present.

From:
Independent

Chinese schoolboy, 15, exposed as Egypt’s ancient temple graffiti vandal
Internet users name and shame teenager who scratched 3,500-year-old artwork
Clifford Coonan
Beijing
Tuesday 28 May 2013

The parents of a Chinese teenager who scratched his name into a 3,500-year-old Egyptian artwork have apologised for his actions after internet users tracked down the boy to name and shame him.

The 15-year-old, from Nanjing, was identified after a photo of his graffiti – which said “Ding Jinhao was here” in Mandarin – at the Temple of Luxor was posted online on Friday.
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March 6, 2013

Germany celebrates 100 years since acquisition of Nefertiti bust

Posted at 6:56 pm in Similar cases

The Neferti bust is one of the most high profile artefacts that Egypt is requesting the return of. Germany’s latest actions only draw attention to this case though, by organising a special exhibition to commemorate the fact that it is 100 years since they acquired the artefact.

From:
Time

The Bust of Nefertiti: Remembering Ancient Egypt’s Famous Queen
By Ishaan Tharoor
Dec. 06, 2012

On a sunny afternoon on Dec. 6, 1912, an Egyptian worker at a dig along the banks of the Nile came across what may be the most striking find in the history of Egyptology. Ludwig Borchardt, the German archaeologist in charge of the excavation, scribbled excitedly in his diary a century ago: “The tools were put aside, and the hands were now used … It took a considerable amount of time until the whole piece was completely freed from all the dirt and rubble.” What emerged was a 3,300-year-old limestone bust of an ancient queen, colored with a gypsum lacquer. A flat-topped crown perched above a finely defined brow. Her cheekbones were high, nose distinguished. A thin, elegant neck — some now describe it “swanlike” — rose from the bust’s base. “We held the most lively piece of Egyptian art in our hands,” wrote Borchardt.

The bust is of Nefertiti, queen of Egypt and wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten, who reigned in the 14th century B.C. A hundred years after Nefertiti’s bust was lifted out of the ground at Amarna, some 480 km south of Cairo, it remains one of the most iconic figures of Egyptian antiquity, far smaller than the pyramids or the Sphinx, but no less globally resonant. The bust adorns souvenir schlock throughout Egypt and history schoolbooks worldwide. When it went on display at a museum in Berlin in the 1920s, it was almost immediately held up as a symbol of universal, timeless beauty. That’s not surprising. Nefertiti’s name means “the beautiful one has come.”
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September 12, 2012

Berlin’s Egyptian Museum celebrates centenary of Nefertiti bust discovery

Posted at 12:53 pm in Similar cases

The Egyptian Museum in Berlin is celebrating the centenary of the discovery of the bust of Nevertiti. Perhaps this would be a fitting point, for them to also enter into serious discussions with Egypt, who also claims ownership of the artefact.

From:
Hurriyet

Berlin marks 100 years of discovering Nefertiti
BERLIN – Agence France-Presse

Berlin’s Egyptian Museum has said that it will celebrate the centenary of the discovery of the 3,400-year-old fabled bust of Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti amid an ongoing feud with Cairo over its ownership.

The museum said it would open an exhibition on Dec. 6 honoring the famous sculpture and other jewels of the Amarna period in its collection on the German capital’s Museum Island.
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August 16, 2012

ICOM “Red List” of Egyptian antiquities at risk of looting

Posted at 12:55 pm in Similar cases

The International Council of Museums has published a list of categories of items from Egypt that they believe should not be acquired by dealers, collectors or museums, unless there is a clear provenance to the artefact. (The link is from a few months ago, because I had not come across it earlier – but it is still relevant)

From:
The Art Newspaper

Icom publishes “red list” of Egyptian antiquities at risk
Objects include statues, vessels, coins, textiles and manuscripts that the council warns should not be acquired without documented provenance
By Martin Bailey. Web only
Published online: 21 February 2012

The International Council of Museums (Icom) published an “emergency red list” of Egyptian cultural objects at risk of being illegally traded earlier this month. It presents categories of objects (rather than individual looted pieces) that should not be acquired by dealers, collectors or museums without documented provenance.

The list, which is being circulated internationally, includes statues, vessels, funerary objects, architectural elements, coins, textiles and manuscripts. It is also designed to help police and custom officials identify the types of objects that are susceptible to illicit trafficking.
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April 25, 2012

Egyptian antiquities smuggler Mousa Khouli pleads guilty

Posted at 1:04 pm in Similar cases

The trial of a smuggler of looted Egyptian antiquities is currently ongoing in the USA. Once again, it is great to see real action being taken in such cases, but it serves to highlight the oddity of how artefacts taken using similar means, not that many years ago, are legitimately on display in many museums, with little fear of any sort of legal comeback.

You can read a more in-depth analysis of this case here.

From:
Independent Online

SA Time: 25 April 2012 15:01:30
Dealer admits smuggling Egyptian treasures
April 19 2012 at 12:21pm

New York – An antiques dealer pleaded guilty on Wednesday to smuggling ancient Egyptian treasures, including a coffin, to the United States.

Mousa Khouli, also known as Morris Khouli, aged 38, faces up to 20 years of prison for “smuggling Egyptian cultural property into the United States and making a false statement to law enforcement authorities,” the federal prosecutor’s office in New York said.
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April 17, 2012

Why efforts must be made to preserve the ancient assets of Greece & Egypt

Posted at 1:08 pm in Greece Archaeology, Similar cases

Egypt & Greece have both been beset by rioting in the past twelve months & have both had high profile thefts from their museums. Every effort must be made, to try & stop similar events happening again. Once items disappear once, there is no guarantee that the country will recover them – they are pieces of their history that has been preserved for many years, yet is now no longer there. They are losing part of their cultural identity.

From:
Guardian

Precious past: why the ancient assets of Greece and Egypt must be saved
20th Feb 2012

While Greece and Egypt are destabilised by the eurozone debt crisis and revolution, we must do more to protect their vast store of the world’s antiquities

In the British Museum on a Sunday afternoon, ancient faces look back at children and adults alike. Inside their glass cases, pharaohs and priests are unfazed by the crowds. And crowds there always are, for these are the painted coffins and carved masks of the ancient Egyptians, relics of a culture that has entranced the world for thousands of years.
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April 12, 2012

Safeguarding Egypt’s recent heritage as well as the ancient

Posted at 7:56 am in Similar cases

A criticism that is often levelled at country which focus on preserving their ancient heritage is a lack of attention to the more recent items of historical importance. In Greece for instance, when the country got independence, the bulk of the Ottoman, Venetian & Byzantine remains were removed from the Acropolis, in an attempt to revert it to how it had been in the time of Pericles. This is despite the fact that the more recent remains are still often of importance in telling the country’s history. There are no right or wrong answers in this sort of debate – but all the options need to be considered, before decision can be made.

In this case though, where the argument is protection, versus no protection, it seems that the answer is clearly that more effort needs to be spent on preserving this heritage.

From:
Al Jazeera

Who should save Egypt’s archives?
Egyptian government institutions have failed to safeguard its ‘modern’ cultural heritage, focusing only on the ancient.
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2012 09:58

Oxford, United Kingdom – It has sometimes been claimed that, like human rights and democracy, the protection of Egypt’s cultural heritage cannot be left to the Egyptians. Corruption, poverty and ignorance, Egypt’s critics maintain, pose a serious threat to the preservation of artefacts of “global importance”.

Egypt’s own Antiquities Council, of course, claims otherwise. Attempting to demonstrate its commitment to safeguarding “national heritage”, erstwhile director Zahi Hawass waged a mildly successful international campaign to repatriate what “rightly belongs” to Egypt. In one case, a mummy returned from Atlanta, Georgia, was given a farcical state-funeral, serenaded by singing schoolchildren and marching military bagpipers.
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April 10, 2012

Ruling allows Saint Louis Art Museum to keep Lady Ka-Nefer-Nefer mummy mask

Posted at 1:14 pm in Similar cases

The St Louis Art Museum claimed in 2010, when asked about the return of requests for the return of the Lady Ka-Nefer-Nefer mummy mask, that “we would do the right thing … if there was something that refuted the legitimacy of the provenance“.

The courts have now ruled that they can keep the mask – although a lot of questions have to be asked, about how something that was know to have previously been on display on another museum & then went missing, can be considered an entirely legitimate purchase without first discussing the matter with the original owners.

David Gill has a lot more commentary on the case on his Looting Matters website.

From:
Washington Post

Federal judge rules 3,200-year-old Egyptian mummy mask can remain at St. Louis Art Museum
By Associated Press, Published: April 5

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis museum can keep hold of a 3,200-year-old mummy’s mask, a federal judge has ruled, saying the U.S. government failed to prove that the Egyptian relic was ever stolen.

Prosecutors said the funeral mask of Lady Ka-Nefer-Nefer went missing from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo about 40 years ago and that it should be returned to its country of origin. The St. Louis Art Museum said it researched the provenance of the mask and legitimately purchased it in 1998 from a New York art dealer.
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March 23, 2012

Giovanni Battista Belzoni, archaeologist of his time, or smash and grab looter?

Posted at 7:31 pm in Similar cases

Belzoni, along with Bernardino Drovetti were perhaps the two people, who more than any others started the raiding of Egypt’s antiquities, to fill the museums & palaces of the west. Were they just doing, what was accepted at the time, or was a lot of history plundered to their reckless methods?

From:
Wall Street Journal

A Pre-Digital Tomb Raider
Sifting sand, opening crypts, raising fallen statues and scooping up anything marketable—and transportable—to Britain.
By GERARD HELFERICH

In the Egyptian gallery of London’s British Museum stands a 3,400-year-old statue carved from polished black stone. Lifted from the city of Thebes, the figure depicts Amenhotep III, who ruled Egypt from about 1386 B.C. to 1350 B.C., when the kingdom was at the peak of its power and prosperity. Sitting erect but serene, his hands resting on his thighs, Amenhotep seems every inch the pharaoh. But one detail disturbs the regal impression: Beside the king’s left foot, with all the subtlety of a Times Square billboard, appears the crudely carved name “Belzoni.” How this Italian commoner came to be forever linked with an Egyptian pharaoh is now the subject of a lively, witty biography by Ivor Noël Hume.

Though Giovanni Battista Belzoni is not generally recalled today, he is still infamous among archaeologists. Born in 1778 in Padua, Italy, Giovanni worked in his father’s barbershop until age 16, then left to study in Rome. After Napoleon Bonaparte captured the Eternal City in 1797, Belzoni wandered Europe for a time, ending up in London, where he hoped to secure work as a hydraulic engineer. But the only job the 6-foot-6 Italian could find was as a circus performer, billed as “the Patagonian Sampson” and toting a dozen lesser men about the stage.
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