DO WE REALLY HAVE THE RIGHT TO SELL OTHER COUNTRIES PRECIOUS ANTIQUITIES? EVEN IF THEY WERE GIFTED TO US?
This week Christies Auction House of London sold the statue of SEKHEMKA – a limestone statue, 30″ high, for a little over US 27 million. The 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue was gifted to the Northampton Museum in England in 1880.
Northampton Borough Council decided to auctioned the SEKHEMKA limestone statue to help fund a £14m extension to Northampton Museum and Art Gallery..
The Egyptian ambassador to Britain said the council should have handed the statue back if it did not want it.
The following is quote of a BBC report —-
Before the auction, Egyptian Ambassador Ahsraf Elkholy condemned the sale as an abuse to the Egyptian archaeology and the cultural property.
He said: “Our objection starts from this basic principle: how can a museum sell a piece in its collection when it should be on display to the public? Furthermore we are concerned this piece may be moved into a private collection.”
‘Darkest cultural day’ “A museum should not be a store. SEKHEMKA belongs to Egypt and if Northampton Borough Council does not want it then it must be given back.
“It’s not ethical that it will be sold for profit and also not acceptable. The council should have consulted with the Egyptian government.”
Christie’s said it would reveal details of the new owner later.
Protesters gathered outside Christie’s before the sale said they wanted the statue to be returned to Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities.
Sue Edwards, from the Save SEKHEMKA Action Group, who travelled from Northampton to the auction, said: “This is the darkest cultural day in the town’s history.
“The local authority has made a huge mistake but we will continue our fight to save SEKHEMKA.” (end of quote).
As the Egyptian Ambassador said, ” If they don’t want the statue give it back to Egypt.” But instead THEY ARE MAKING EGYPT PAY for an extension to Northampton Museum and Art Gallery ——- certainly not what SEKHEMKA was meant for when she moved to England.
More from Egypt soon