The Egyptian antiquities ministry is trying to prevent the sale of Egyptian artefacts by Toledo Museum of Art at Christies in New York next week.
To benefit its acquisitions fund, the Ohio-based museum has put up for auction a collection of 64 works.
The sale is to be made in two auctions; the first is from 19 to 26 October and will include a selection of 24 pieces from across ancient Greece, Rome, the Near East, and Egypt with highlights including a Cypriot limestone head of a male votary and an Egyptian bronze cat.
The second auction will be from 21 to 24 October and will be an online auction via Christies, offering an additional 40 pieces.
Ancient Egyptian bronze cat
Upon the detection of the auctions on the internet, the ministry has undertaken all legal, legitimate and diplomatic procedures to stop them taking place and to recover the ancient Egyptian artefacts, an official told Ahram Online.
Supervisor-general of the Antiquities Repatriation Department at the ministry, Shaaban Abdel Gawad, told Ahram Online that the ministry has contacted the directors of UNESCO and the International Committee of Museums, as well as Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to cooperate with the Egyptian embassy in the United States to take all the procedures to withdraw the Egyptian artefacts, stop their sale and return them to their country of origin.
The National Committee for Antiquities Repatriation led by Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Enany has met to discuss the incident and methods to stop the sale.
AN EGYPTIAN PAINTED POTTERY JAR
PREDYNASTIC PERIOD, NAQADA II
Abdel Gawad described the sale of the Toledo Museum of Art’s property as unacceptable because it runs counter to the original Enlightenment role of museums as cultural and archaeological institutions.
He went on to say that the ministry has recently played a major role in returning stolen and illegally smuggled antiquities. A total of 1,200 objects have been recovered within the last seven months.
AN EGYPTIAN FAIENCE WADJET EYE FINGER RING, NEW KINGDOM