There is currently a Tutankhamun statue in London that is about to go on auction, but Egyptian authorities are trying to do all they can to ensure that the sale does not proceed. The officials say that the bust of the pharaoh might have been stolen from the Karnak temple in Luxor.
The statue is expected to catch a total price of around £4 million when it goes on sale on July 4 at Christie's. History has shown that some of the artefacts in Europe have been looted from Africa, and many of the African countries have not been powerful enough to effect the return of these artefacts.
The stone statue of King Tutankhamun is 3,000 years old, and for that, it is fetching a handsome, huge price. Christie's describe the statue as showing "strength and serenity."
Dr Mostafa Waziri, who is the head of Egypt’s supreme council for antiquities said, "We will do our best to stop this auction immediately. We will talk to the Egyptian foreign ministry and our ambassador in London to do our best to stop it, as we have to check."
The Ministry of Antiquities said that it had been in touch with the British Foreign Office, and also with the auction house so that this sale is stopped, and the statue is returned to Egypt.
The ministry said, "If it’s proven that any piece has been illegally moved out of the country, we will take legal action with Interpol. We will never allow anyone to sell any ancient Egyptian artefact."
These words echo the well-known issue that Europeans have always invested in the habit of stealing artefacts from their countries of origins.
A former Egyptian minister of antiquities Dr Zahi Hawass argued that the artefact was stolen, as Christie's could not solidly produce any "proof whatsoever of its ownership."
But Christie's also argue that the artefact was not stolen. They said that they acquired the lot, which also includes an Egyptian coffin and bronze Egyptian cat statue, from Munich dealer Heinz Herzer in 1985.
Christie's said, "Ancient objects by their nature cannot be traced over millennia. It is hugely important to establish recent ownership and legal right to sell, which we have clearly done.
"We would not offer for sale any object where there was concern over ownership or export. The work has been widely exhibited and published and we have alerted the Egyptian embassy so they are aware of the sale.
"There is a long-standing and legitimate market for works of art of the ancient world, in which Christie's has participated for generations.
"Christie's strictly adheres to bilateral treaties and international laws with respect to cultural property and patrimony."
Header image credit - The Guardian