Despite Egyptian protests, a quartzite head of Tutankhamun auctioned in London

07 Juillet, 2019, 03:27 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • King Tut Sculpture with Sketchy Origins Sells at Christie's for Nearly $6 Million

Delaloye said the auction house has done everything it could to prove its provenance. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry had earlier raised issues about the sale.

"We are against our heritage and valuable items (being) sold like vegetables and fruit", said Ibrahim Radi, a 69-year-old Egyptian graphic designer protesting outside Christie's.

The famous pharaoh's finely-chiselled face - its calm eyes and puffed lips emoting a sense of eternal peace - came from the private Resandro Collection of ancient art that Christie's last parcelled off for £3 million in 2016.

The auction house also said that the bust's existence had been known for a considerable time and it had been on display for a number of years. In the early 1980s, Egypt introduced legislation preventing the removal of ancient artifacts from the country.

But Christie's defended the sale process. It was sold for an estimated £4,746,250 (US$6 million) on Thursday.

Former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass said the sculpture likely came from Monto Temple north of Karnak, or one south of Karnak, the Temple of Mut.

Hailing the piece as a "rare" and "beautiful" work, a Christie's statement acknowledged controversy over its home.

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Christie's released a statement saying: "We recognize that historic objects can raise complex discussions about the past; yet our role today is to work to continue to provide a transparent, legitimate marketplace upholding the highest standards for the transfer of objects".

In terms of its origin, Christie's traced the artifact to German collector Prince Wilhelm von Thurnind Taxis prior to it being passed along various dealers till its current owners in 1985. The spokesperson added: "Ancient objects by their nature can not be traced over millennia".

Egypt's antiquities ministry said it would hold a special meeting at the start of next week to discuss its next steps in the standoff.

Mostafa Waziri, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, recently told that Associated Press that he believes that the head belongs to King Tut, but it was not found in the tomb in the Valley of the Kings.

For several decades, Egypt has been actively campaigning for the return of monuments of the ancient world.

The Egyptian government is confident that it will get its statue back after the successful return of a section of a tablet that was stolen from the Karnak Open Air Museum in Luxor, Egypt, in 1988 following news that it was going to be auctioned in London.

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