Last Update 21:53
Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Could Egypt recover the statue of Sekhemka?

Ministry of Antiquities launches fund raising campaign to buy 4500-year-old statue sold last year in London, stops archeological cooperation with Northampton Museum for selling it

Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 22 Aug 2015
Sekhemka statue
The 4500-year-old ancient Egyptian statue of Sekhemka (Photo: antiquities ministry)
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Egypt's antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty launched on Saturday a fund raising campaign to re-buy the 4500-year-old ancient Egyptian statue of Sekhemka, which was sold by a UK museum.

"I am calling all Egyptians around the world to help Egypt to preserve its ancient Egyptian heritage and to collect the required fund to buy the Sekhemka statue," Eldamaty told reporters at the Ministry of Antiquities premises in Zamalek.

He also announced that the ministry has stopped all archeological cooperation and relations with the Northampton Museum that sold the statue last year to make up for its lack of funds.

The statue dates to the 5th dynasty and depicts Sekhemka who was a scribe and court official, with his wife Sitmerit.

The controversy over the Sekhemka statue began in July 2014 when Northampton Museum put the statue on sale in an attempt to raise the funds of the museum's budget.

The statue of Sekhemka was sold to an anonymous buyer at Christie's in London for £15,76 million during an auction in July 2014 but a temporary export ban was later imposed.

The sale of the statue by Northampton Council was opposed by the Arts Council, the Museums Association, the Art Fund, and the International Council of Museums, as well as locals in Northampton.

This export ban was meant to expire on 29 July and British and Egyptian campaigners have asked the prime minister to intervene "urgently".

The UK department for culture took the unprecedented step of extending a deadline to 29 August over the export of the Egyptian sculpture of Sekhemka. This is the first time that such a step has been has been taken since the art export regulations were introduced in 1952.

The decision was made after it was determined that the sale of the 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue to a private collector, by the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery and Abington Park Museum, had breached Arts Council England's (ACE) accredited standards for how museums manage their collections.

ACE subsequently removed Northampton Museum from their accreditation scheme with immediate effect. It will now be excluded from future participation until August 2019 and are no longer eligible for Arts Council grants.

On Saturday, Eldamaty announced that the Department of Culture declared a second deferral period until March 2016 in an attempt to give an opportunity to British businessmen to collect the money to match the price of the statue.

Eldamaty called on Egyptian businessmen to collect the required money in order to return it back to Egypt.

"If British businessmen find the matching money, the statue is to be kept in another museum in Britain," he said.

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4



Arabesque
23-08-2015 01:37pm
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Western No-Civilization
No surprise. The chronically colonial consumerist western countries & their allies/pawns that took part in the destruction of entire countries (Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen ...) along with ancient antiquities, cultures, minorities ... are nothing more than technologically advanced, morally decadent APES. Even the West-controlled colonialist-founded UN and its UNESCO didn't budge while watching museums, monuments and churches looted and torched across Egypt by the MB after June 30th revolution against Islamists and their Western supporters (of destructive chaos, premature democracy, "illiteratocracy" and the rights of terrorists -- or any euphemism for western INTEREST/GREED).
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Arabesque
24-08-2015 12:53am
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@Sam
No one is innocent, YET Egyptians' (smugglers') crimes against Egypt fade in comparison with the destruction by the US & its allies to the world esp. to Arab countries ever since Israel's DEFEAT in 1973. The unipolar world the US insists to force on everyone worldwide is keeping humanity from progress & equality: weakening/destroying all Israel's neighboring states, humiliating Russia, surrounding China with military bases (in Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, etc), breaching international treaties & going its own way, and devoting its Jewish media to turn the whole world into a big Zionist colony.
Sam Enslow
23-08-2015 08:51pm
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Innocent Egyptians?
There was a trial in which 18 of 19 Egyptians, most of whom held responsibility for protecting Egypt's antiquities, were found guilty of smuggling lorrys filled with antiquities to Europe. Many, if not most, tourists to Egypt are offered genuine antiquities. It is Egypt's Salafi who have stated they do want to destroy the Pyramids and Sphinx along with other pagan relics. Demand? One looks silly making unfounded demands while asking for baksheesh with the other.
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ezzat estasy
23-08-2015 07:10am
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The legal right to sell!
I do not know for sure, but I would imagine that the thousands of pieces of ancient Egyptian artifacts that are filling the British museums must have been REMOVED/TAKEN/STOLEN by the British when they colonised Egypt. If we (Egypt) ALLOWED them to keep for an indefinite period of time on LEASE only, to display in museums for the benefit of the whole world to enjoy, I think the Egyptian government/authorities must insist that this item be retrieved by whatever means and sent back to Egypt at the cost of the British. We could even threaten to retrieve ALL the other Egyptian artifacts from the UK because they simply cannot be trusted with such valuable historical marvels. Thank God the pyramids are too big, otherwise the Brits would have stolen them as well.
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2



Tut
22-08-2015 10:16pm
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34+
Abandoning the most valuable
Pharonic history, culture, and artifact are the most valuable assets in Egypt. Nevertheless the country abandoned this part of our culture over the years for an empty Arabism and fake religious identity. Most school kids can recite part of the Quran and name most Arab rulers by heart but have no clue which Egyptian dynasty ruled when. Most other countries would give an arm and leg to have an ancient history and civilization like that of old Egypt, and we completely ignore it, abuses it, and shy away from it for a shallow Arab identity. We have 2 (not one) ministries responsible for these treasure; Tourism and Antiquity; and still have no clue how to manage it, responsibly!!
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1



Sam Enslow
22-08-2015 06:47pm
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Better talk to the current owner
If the statue was sold at Christies for over 15 million Sterling, the minister had better find out from him if it is for sale or not and for what price. Nothing in the article says the statue was not the property of the museum or sold illegally - regardless of what some museum associations think. Museum often sell parts if their collections for many different reasons. Egypt would do better to stop the illegal export of antiquities still in Egypt, and the money spent on this futile effort spent on restoring the artifacts and monuments it currently possesses.
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Observer
23-08-2015 02:12am
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always begging for money
25 Million dollars would be better spent renovating and updating the crumbling hospitals and schools in this country.
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