After almost 20 months of investigations, the Manhattan district attorney’s office recovered the gilded coffin of ancient Egyptian priest Nedjemankh from the Metropolitan Museum earlier this year and handed it back to Egypt this week, writes Nevine El-Aref.
It is now on permanent display at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) in Fustat in Cairo.
The coffin was purchased by the museum through an antiquities trader in Paris who held a 1971 Egyptian export licence. During the investigations conducted by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, Egypt submitted evidence of ownership and proved that the export licence had been faked and the coffin was the result of an illegal excavation.
The coffin is carved out of wood and covered with a layer of gold inscribed for Nedjemankh, a high-ranking priest of Heryshef in the ancient city of Herakleopolis. The elaborately decorated surface includes scenes and texts in thick gesso relief 0to protect and guide Nedjemankh on his journey from death to eternal life.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 3 October, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.