Tutankhmun's chair is 'safe and sound', says museum official

Nevine El-Aref , Thursday 26 Mar 2015

Reports emerged in the media today which suggested that artifacts belonging to Tutankhamun were damaged

Tutankhamun's chair at the GEM

Public outrage erupted today over rumours which emerged in the media reporting that further damage occurred to Tutankhamun’s funerary collection during its transportation between museums.  

Some media reported that the wooden gilded chair of the boy king Tutankhamun was broken during its transportation between the Egyptian museum in Tahrir Square to the planned Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking Giza plateau.

Almost two months ago news broke about the flawed restoration work on Tutankhamun's golden mask at the Egyptian museum.

It was reported that three other artifacts of Tutankhamun’s collection were also damaged during their transportation. These objects, according to reports, are the top of the sarcophagus, a round offering table, and a marble vessel.

The reports also accused the Ministry of Antiquities of negligence.

“What has been published in newspapers are unfounded claims,” GEM's director general Tarek Tawfik told Ahram Online.

He continued to say that the objects that were transported to the GEM were not broken and do not even belong to the boy king’s funerary collection, despite photos in the media which suggest this to be the case.

“They are non-royal objects from the Old and Middle Kingdoms discovered in Dahshour necropolis and were dismantled at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, and not broken as claimed,” confirmed Tawfik.

The objects which were identified in the media as Tutankhamun’s chair, he asserted, is instead a non-royal table from the Middle Kingdom. The sarcophagus, the vessel and the offering table have been in two pieces since they were discovered last century and were not broken during transportation.

Eissa Zidan, the head of restoration at the GEM, told Ahram Online that what was thought to be a sarcophagus, was in fact an Old Kingdom alabaster plaque that was discovered last century in two pieces.

All the newly transported objects, Zidan continued, are safe and none of them were broken. They came to the museum in their current condition and were subjected to normal restoration procedures like any other transported objects.

An archaeologist at the GEM who spoke to Ahram Online on condition of anonymity, said that the person behind the publishing of the false news is a former restorer at the GEM. The administration terminated his contract and transferred him to his original job as a restorer in the Al Manial Palace restoration department.

The official said that the former restorer at the GEM made up the rumours as revenge for his demotion.

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