Egypt retrieves historical priest statue from Holland

Egypt has recovered an historical statue of a priest from the Old Kingdom that had been smuggled overseas.

On July 26, the Foreign Ministry handed over the artifact to the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

In an announcement by the Ministry of Tourism, Shaaban Abdel Gawad, the supervisor of the ministry’s Department of Recovered Antiquities, stated that the statue was put up on the market on the annual European Fine Art Fair within the metropolis of Maastricht within the Netherlands.

Abdel Gawad defined that the statue was discovered to have been illegally taken out of Egypt. He identified that the statue was not discovered to be registered with the Supreme Council of Antiquities, which means that it was taken via unlawful digging.

The legless statue depicts priest Nikaw-Ptah along with his arms at his sides, sporting a brief kilt and his identify engraved on one arm.

In a cellphone name with Al-Monitor, Abdel Gawad stated, “Egypt and many other countries that are rich in archeological treasures experience illegal excavation at archeological sites. Smuggled artifacts are not registered [at the Ministry of Antiquities records] but are by chance caught in auction halls [abroad], seized in international ports or airports.”

He defined that the pre-1983 legal guidelines allowed the commerce in relics overseas via certificates issued by the federal government.

“It was not until 1983 that the government issued Law No. 117, which prohibited the antiquity trade and also banned the gifting or selling of relics, even to be taken abroad, except for temporary exhibitions,” Abdel Gawad added.

He went on to say that the ministry’s Department of Recovered Antiquities displays all auctions involving Egyptian artifacts overseas, artifacts seized in worldwide ports and people displayed in main museums.

“Egyptian antiquities were bought and sold until 1983, according to a law that regulated the process, on the condition that there were certificates for each piece,” he explained. “Back then, the rules for the division of architectural finds stipulated that the archeological missions working in Egypt shared ownership of the antiquities with the Egyptian government. This was why a large number of relics were found in international museums. We are not calling for retrieving these because this was done according to the law. The Egyptian government is, however, investigating artifacts that left the country in an illegal manner.”

In 2014, 303 artifacts have been recovered from around the globe, together with eight items from Denmark that had been stolen from the Ghanem al-Bahlawan Mosque in Cairo; an artifact stolen from the museum warehouse of the Saqqara area, which was smuggled to France; and a sandstone miniature of the Pyramid of Khufu, which was smuggled to Germany. The piece, which includes a plaster picture of two folks bearing colourful choices from the Pyramid of Khufu, was stolen from Sobekhotep’s tomb in Luxor and dates again to the period of Thutmose IV. 

Also in 2014, Egypt recovered 15 items from London that have been stolen from the museum warehouse in Saqqara. One of those items included a bit of glass that had been stolen from the museum warehouse in Qantara within the nation’s east. 

In 2014, Egypt was additionally profitable in retrieving a glazed Ushabti statue relationship again to the period of King Nectanebo II of the Third Dynasty. It was displayed in an public sale corridor in Paris.

From January 2017 to November 2017, Egypt recovered some 586 artifacts from around the globe, together with eight picket containers from London, and eight artifacts from Paris that included coffin components, two statues of cats and a basalt sculpture of a human head. 

From January 2018 to November 2018, a complete of 222 artifacts and 21,600 cash have been retrieved from 5 nations. There have been 4 items from the United States together with an historical gilded sarcophagus purchased by the Metropolitan Museum within the United States from an antiquity supplier who did have a certificates issued from Egypt in 1971. Nine items have been recovered from France, 14 from Cyprus, one from Kuwait, 195 artifacts and 21,660 cash from Italy. 

More not too long ago, in June of this 12 months, Egypt recovered 114 artifacts that had been looted and smuggled to France, along with three items from the United Kingdom that have been illegally taken in a foreign country.

Abdel Rahim Rihan, director of the Archeological Studies and Research Department on the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, instructed Al-Monitor, “There are international gangs backed by local funders who took advantage of the dire economic and social situation in Egypt after the 2011 revolution. This is not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to an economic crisis. This prompted many people to sell whatever they could get their hands on, especially artifacts.”

Rihan defined that the state has taken discover of the position of worldwide gangs and final 12 months amended 1983 legislation to punish those that type, be part of or assist antiquity smugglers at home or overseas with a lifetime jail sentence.

Rihan additionally famous that antiquities uncovered in unlawful excavations will not be registered and really troublesome to trace down.

“Therefore, artifacts are displayed and sold in public auctions abroad. The parties that hold these auctions usually forge ownership certificates with the help of the smuggling gangs and groups that smuggle the pieces from one country to another. Therefore, it is imperative to verify all supporting documents of ownership from the source country,” he added.

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