press enter to search

NY museum says ancient coffin was looted, will go back to Egypt

 

Agence France-Presse

New York, United States  /  Mon, February 18, 2019  /  12:05 pm
NY museum says ancient coffin was looted, will go back to Egypt

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will return an ancient gilded coffin to Egypt after New York prosecutors determined that it had been looted from that country. (AFP/Angela Weiss)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will return an ancient gilded coffin to Egypt after New York prosecutors determined that it had been looted from that country, the museum said.

The museum had purchased the prized coffin, dating from the first century BCE, in July 2017 from a Paris art dealer for a price of nearly four million dollars.

But the Manhattan district attorney's office determined that the mummy-shaped golden coffin had been sold with fake documentation, including a forged 1971 Egyptian export license. 

It was not clear what had sparked the district attorney's investigation.

The statement Friday quoted Met CEO Daniel Weiss as apologizing to the Egyptian people and specifically to Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany. 

"After we learned that the Museum was a victim of fraud and unwittingly participated in the illegal trade of antiquities, we worked with the DA's office for its return to Egypt," Weiss said. 

Read also: New York's Museum of Modern Art to undergo four-month renovation

The museum said it would "consider all available remedies to recoup the purchase price of the coffin" and would commit itself "to identifying how justice can be served, and how we can help to deter future offenses against cultural property".

MoMA vowed to "review and revise its acquisitions process". 

The elaborately decorated coffin, viewed by nearly a half-million visitors since it was made the centerpiece of a major exhibition in July, is sheathed in gold, which the ancient Egyptians associated with the gods.

It is inscribed with the name of Nedjemankh, a high-ranking priest of the ram-headed god Heryshef of Herakleopolis.

The Met took the coffin off view this week to deliver it to the district attorney's office for its eventual return to Egypt. 

Your premium period will expire in 0 day(s)

close x
Subscribe to get unlimited access Get 50% off now