A query that has not been heard. A portrait sculpture of the pharaoh Tutankhamun is being auctioned today in London, despite the wrath of the Cairo, which considers the work stolen and demanded its return to Egypt.
” READ ALSO: Egypt calls for the cancellation of the auction of a statue of Tutankhamun
The object of the wrath? A head of quartzite and brown 28.5 cm high, that dates back more than 3,000 years. Estimated to be in excess of four million pounds sterling (€4.5 million), it represents the god Amun in the guise of the “boy pharaoh”, who came to the throne at nine years of age. It recognizes her mouth plump, her almond eyes and high cheekbones. Cairo is concerned that the document has been stolen on the site of the temple of Karnak, located in Luxor.
A work dating from the period amarnienne the sale, scheduled to 16: 30, has sparked the fury of Egypt, who claimed in vain at the auction house in london to give it up. In a statement, the egyptian ministry of foreign Affairs and Antiquities regretted that Christie’s has organized on Wednesday a first sale of parts egyptian despite “the requests have come from Egypt legitimate these past few weeks”, in particular relating to the obtaining of certificates of acquisition of new works.
The Egyptian embassy in the United Kingdom “is sorry that the auction house plans to conduct a new sale with egyptian artifacts, including the head of Tutankhamun, with no make sure of (getting) papers” necessary to the sale, adds the ministry.
Christie’s has assured to have “conducted in-depth investigations to verify the origin and legal status of the object”. “The ancient objects, by their nature, cannot be traced back thousands of years, has explained the auction house in Figaro in June of last year. We do put them on sale any object in the possession or export would be a problem. The statue has been widely exhibited and studied, and we have alerted the embassy of Egypt of the existence of the sale,” noted the auction house.
The former egyptian minister of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, believes that the sculpture has “left the country in the 1970s because at that time, other old objects of the same nature have been stolen from the temple of Karnak”, in Luxor, he explained to the AFP. “The owners have provided false information”, advance this world-famous egyptian archaeologist.
The bust of Tutankhamun, which had been bought in 1985 with Heinz Herzer, an art dealer from Munich, Germany. He was previously in the hands of Joseph Messina, an Austrian who had acquired about 1973-1974 with the prince Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis, which would have been in its possession since the 1960’s, has traced Christie s.
However, the son and the niece of Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis, Viktor and Daria, told the website Live Science that he did not remember the existence of this piece. Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis “was not a person very interested in art,” added his niece. Statements that add grist to the mill of Egypt, which for years has fought to obtain the restitution of stolen works of art.