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Egyptian Statue Creates Controversy

Posted on July 22nd, 2014 by Joe G

An Egyptian statue on auction at Christie’s of London sold for nearly $20M, about three times more than its estimated price.

The limestone statue of royal chief and judge, Sekhemka, is 4,000 years old and was given to Northampton Borough Council in 1880. The council decided to auction the piece in order to help fund an extension to the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. That very museum could now lose its accreditation status because of the sale.

Ahrsaf Elkholy, the Egyptian Ambassador to Britain is concerned that the piece will not be moved to a private collection, rather than being on display to the public. He said the sale is “an abuse to the Egyptian archaeology and the cultural property” and that “a museum should not be a store.”

The ambassador is not the only one upset about the auction. Protesters gathered outside Christie’s before the sale, asking that the statue be returned to Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities.

In the more than 100 years the piece has been in the museum’s possession, it has never been a centerpiece. In fact, it has not been on display for four years.

If the Northampton Museum loses its accreditation, it will be ineligible for future grants and funding. Council leader David Mackintosh says he does not believe this should or will happen.

What do you think about this? Should the museum have kept the statue or given it back?


Courtesy of BBC

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