Cairo airport customs confiscate large collection of historical artefacts

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 14 Apr 2013

A collection of 19th century items, including porcelain vases and chandeliers, was on its way to Egypt's black market

blue-marine plate

On Sunday, officials at Cairo Airport confiscated a large collection of artefacts which originally belonged to the family of nineteenth century ruler of Egypt Mohamed Ali, that were being imported illegally to be sold in Egypt on the black market.

The objects were hidden inside two large wooden boxes that were being transported unaccompanied, and were spotted by staff who were using scanners to look inside cargo. 

An archaeological committee including airport antiquity officials, curators from the Museum of Islamic Arts, the Police Museum and the Manial Palace Museum inspected the collection and approved its authenticity.

The artefacts were confiscated by the Tourism and Antiquities Police until the completion of investigations.

Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online that this collection was shipped from London to a Cairo citizen, who has subsequently been arrested.

Hassan Rasmy head of the central administration of the Archaeological Unit for Confiscated Antiquities (AUCA) explained that the confiscated collection will be put on show in one of Egypt’s museums, most probably the Museum of Islamic Arts.

The collection includes crystal chandeliers, porcelain plates decorated with golden frames and foliage drawings, and two blue French ‘Sevres’ vases with flower decorations.

It also includes eight rounded porcelain plates with golden frames decorated with Latin letters and Egypt’s royal crown.

According to the experts, the most distinguished object is a dark red porcelain plate which is decorated with the image of French king Louis XIV and a group of European ladies.

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