- Title: Egypt receives trafficked coffin repatriated by New York's Met
- Date: 1st October 2019
- Summary: CAIRO, EGYPT (OCTOBER 1, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF GILDED COFFIN OF HIGH-RANKING ANCIENT EGYPTIAN OFFICIAL, NEDJEMANKH, AFTER BEING BROUGHT BACK TO EGYPT FROM METROPOLITAN MUSEUM WHICH IS NOW SHOWCASED AT NATIONAL MUSEUM OF EGYPTIAN CIVILISATION EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES OFFICIALS STANDING BY COFFIN (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) EGYPTIAN MINISTER OF ANTIQUITIES, KHALED EL-ENANY, SAYING: "The committee has requested the documents which allegedly prove the exit of the piece from the Egyptian national museum. But the piece was not taken out of the museum, (document dated back to) 1971. The document is forged and there is a lot of evidence to prove so. We communicated with the U.S. side through the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs and the Egyptian public prosecutor. The U.S. side was cooperative and carried out an investigation and proved that the piece bought by the Metropolitan Museum in 2017 was taken out of Egypt illegally and that its original location is the Arab Republic of Egypt." VARIOUS OF INSCRIPTION CARVED ON COFFIN JOURNALISTS AND OFFICIALS GATHERING AROUND COFFIN (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. EMBASSY CHARGÃ‰ D'AFFAIRES IN CAIRO, THOMAS GOLDBERGER, SAYING: "This is another example of the outstanding cooperation between the United States and Egypt, in this case to counter the trafficking of stolen antiquities and works of art. We are so happy that it is back in Egypt where it ought to be, where it can be enjoyed by millions of people who come to Egypt, visit Egypt and to see the amazing cultural heritage of Egypt." SECRETARY GENERAL OF EGYPT'S SUPREME COUNCIL OF ANTIQUITIES, MOSTAFA WAZIRI, SPEAKING ANTIQUITIES OFFICIALS STANDING NEXT TO COFFIN VARIOUS OF COFFIN (SOUNDBITE) (English) SECRETARY GENERAL OF EGYPT'S SUPREME COUNCIL OF ANTIQUITIES, MOSTAFA WAZIRI, SAYING: "If we are going to look, very carefully, at this golden, wooden coffin, it is not that big, of course, it is cartonnage, wooden one, covered with gold. Look at the tiny details of all the hieroglyphic inscriptions, it looks really amazing. If we are going to look at the face, look at the black crystal, look at the white one which is ivory, look at the lapis lazuli, they look really amazing." NATIONAL MUSEUM OF EGYPTIAN CIVILISATION
- Embargoed: 15th October 2019 15:10
- Keywords: Egypt antiquities New York's Metropolitan Museum Gilded coffin of Nedjemankh
- Location: CAIRO, EGYPT
- City: CAIRO, EGYPT
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA001AZ9O11J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Egypt has showcased on Tuesday (October 1) the gilded coffin of a high-ranking ancient Egyptian priest, which had been buried, looted and illegally sold before going on public display at a New York museum, after it went home last week.
The piece was exhibited at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation, where the country's top antiquities official considered the repatriation of the sarcophagus a "victory" for the Egyptian government.
"The U.S. side was cooperative and carried out an investigation and proved that the piece bought by the Metropolitan Museum in 2017 was taken out of Egypt illegally and that its original location is the Arab Republic of Egypt," Minister of Antiquities, Khaled El-Enany, told reporters.
The coffin of Nedjemankh, which dates back to the first century B.C., came to New York two years ago by way of a global art underground network before being sold to an unwitting Metropolitan Museum of Art for $4 million, authorities said.
The highly ornamented coffin had been buried in Egypt for 2,000 years before it was stolen from the country's Minya region after the political upheaval of October 2011, authorities said. From there, it went on an underworld odyssey through the United Arab Emirates, Germany, France and New York, they said.
After it had been on display for six months, agents for the district attorney's office presented the Metropolitan Museum with evidence early this year that its ownership history documents, including one that suggested the coffin had been exported from Egypt in 1971, were forgeries.
The museum announced last February that it had been defrauded when it bought the coffin and was cooperating with the district attorney's investigation.
The coffin, which is inscribed with the name Nedjemankh, a priest of the ram-headed god Heryshef of Herakleopolis, will now go back to Egypt where it will be put on display next year, Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Hassan Shoukry said.
(Production: Sherif Fahmy, Seham Eloraby, Mai Shams El-Din)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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