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  • Writer's pictureVan Weyenbergh Fine Art

Metropolitan Museum returns stolen gold covered sarcophagus to Egypt.

Updated: Feb 25, 2019

The imposing golden object made for Nedjemankh, priest of the ram-headed god Heryshef, was at the heart of an exhibition of the Metropolitan. The exhibition was planned until end of April but suddenly came to an end.

Why was the exhibition prematurely ended? The richly decorated sarcophagus dating from the 1st cent. BC. was actually "stolen in Egypt in 2011." The MET made this statement last Friday. The MET handed the sarcophagus over to a Manhattan Attorney's Office, who must return it to Egypt.

MET officials, quoted by the New York Times, said the sarcophagus was acquired in 2017 for about $ 4 million from a Parisian art dealer. The MET said it had been informed in recent months about of truth of the provenance of the object. Following a prosecutor investigation, it appeared that the papers coming with the sarcophagus were forgeries. An export permit from Egypt dating from 1971 was in reality a forgery. Daniel Weiss current president and chief executive officer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, since 2017, declared in a statement to be committed to see justice prevail and how to prevent all future violations of cultural property

As a result, the MET said it would review its acquisition audit process.

The Egyptian archaeological treasures are fueling the lust of looters. Cairo Egyptian Museum , which holds priceless ancient coins, was robbed in January 2011. At the same period, Tahir Square close to the Cairo museum, violent clashes opposed police and demonstrators who were requesting the departure of former President Hosni Mubarak.

Golden Sarcophagus in MET.
Gold covered sarcophagus

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