Last Update 19:18
UK museum selling Egyptian artefact, officials to take legal action
Fifth dynasty statue of Sekhemka will go on sale in London in four days, prompting Egyptian officials into action
Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 6 Jul 2014
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Egypt

Egypt's antiquities ministry has asked the Egyptian embassy in London to take all legal procedures to prevent an ancient statue from being sold in a Christie's auction later this week.

The statue, of Egyptian scribe Sekhemka, was put on Christie's auction list by Northampton Museum and will go on sale in four days.

Sekhemka is a 2300 BC limestone statue from the fifth ancient Egyptian dynasty and depicts the scribe with his wife sitting beside his legs. It is 75 cm tall and 29.5 cm wide.

The statue was a centrepiece at Northampton Museum, which sent it to auction at Christie's in London as part of its exceptional 2014 sale later this week.

Antiquities Minister Mamdouh El-Damati has denounced the sale of the statue and described the museum's actions as incompatible with the values and role of museums worldwide, which he said should "spread culture" and not try to simply earn money.

He called on the International Council of Museums (ICOM) to stop the sale on the grounds that it goes against the council's ethics.

Ali Ahmed, head of the ministry's stolen antiquities section, explained that the Sekhemka statue was given to Northampton Museum at the end of the 18th century by an Ottoman sultan and has been a part of the museum's collection on display since 1849.

The London-based Museums Association has sent a final warning to Northampton Borough Council saying it will review the authority's membership status if it sells off the ancient Egyptian statue.

A petition and a campaign have also appeared on Facebook to stop the sale.

 





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5



expat
07-07-2014 06:55pm
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7+
who was in charge of this country in the end of the 18th century?
well,right,the rightful leaders were turks at that time...guess what,they can do with the things in their country,what they choose,as long,as no egyptian kicks them out,then and today so,what exactly does the ministry complain about? the treaties of that time,when it comes to water,are sacred to the todays government,but other decisions they want to re-negotiate? there is a saying in egypt,under every stone there is history,it would be wise for modern egyptians to lay their islamic culture aside and to try to learn from the ancestors,as they did much smarter in their state ruling than today
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Nabil Karreem
11-07-2014 06:11am
1-
11+
What are you talking about?
What was the point of that rant?
4



Andy Brockman
07-07-2014 05:09pm
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7+
Sekhemka Sale
Assalamu alaikum, I am one of the archaeologists who has been helping research this story. The UK Museums Association and Arts Council England both say the sale of Sekhemka is an "unethical" breach of the UK Museums Code of Ethics which will bring Northampton Council into disrepute. The sale is also opposed by a roll call of museum and archaeological professionals who wish to make sure part of Egypt's cultural history is not sold off, possibly to a private collector, to reward one of the richest men in the UK, the Marquis of Northampton, with a gift of over £2 million and a local Council which has willfully ignored all professional and ethical advice. Let us hope that all of us working together can restore the ethical balance and prevent the sale of this wonderful example of Egyptian culture which should be freely protected and enjoyed by all of us.
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3



Glen Parry
07-07-2014 02:01pm
20-
6+
It's the Principle
Just to try to explain the reaction, in the UK; as it's not just the Egyptian Government agencies who are protesting, in this instance. In public museums in the UK, such as that in Northampton, receive Government funds, which enable them to provide free admission and are expected to act as a freely accessible source or knowledge. Hand in hand with this, they are seen as being a safe repository for works of art & objects of historical significance that would otherwise end up in private hands, and accessible only to those who are rich enough to own such collections. It is, quite literally, a matter of trust. The actions of Nottingham Council, through the sale of museum objects, is seen as being a breach of the trust placed in such institutions. My own local museum, in Bolton, holds a fine collection of small objects from Petrie's Amarna digs. The council isn't rich but they'd never think of selling off items that could make a fortune, at auction, due to the outcry it would arouse.
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Sam Enslow
07-07-2014 06:43pm
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15+
A Matter of Law
The sale's legitmacy will be a subject for the law to resolve. Museums almost always object to the sale of artifacts even though most do it for various reasons, not all nefarious. If the sale is legal, start a fund raiser to buy it and place it in another museum.But as of now, no one kows whothe potential buyers are..
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ayman
07-07-2014 12:56pm
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Shameful act
It is an ancient artifact that requires great care in either display or storage. Its place is in a museum not in someone's mansion. No single private buyer can take proper care of it and there will be no supervision on him if he doesn't. And, it's not good manners to sell a gift.
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1



medo
06-07-2014 09:25pm
11-
71+
LOL!
I am confused.... It was given as a GIFT and now they wish to sell it to another collector... what is the issue here?? It will go to someone that wants it and will be able to use it in a better way.. This is coming from us... the country that is quick to point out to others that we don't want people involving themselves in our personal domestic issues... LOL!
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Andy Brockman
07-07-2014 04:57pm
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No need to be confused about the "unethical" sale of Sekhemka
Sekhemka was gifted to Northampton Museum in the 19th century on condition ite remained on displa
Yossef
07-07-2014 02:16pm
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6+
No LOL
Because it was given as a gift by a foreign occupier (the Turkish, sorry "Ottoman", ruler), Egypt feels this belongs to the nation and keep an eye on these, making sure they are not lost in private hands where it could virutally become impossible to trace them.
Lynne
07-07-2014 11:41am
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6+
Re Lol
It also could go into a private collection and never be seen at all but for a select few

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