Tutankhamun Statue Up For Sale

Tutankhamun Statue Up For Sale

Egypt is attempting to halt the sale of a Tutankhamun statue up for sale at an auction house in London. Their concerns are that the 11-inch statue with features reminiscent of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun may have been stolen. Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities is appealing to UNESCO to halt the sale. Requesting to see documents proving its provenance.

Right facing of bust of Tutankhamun. The sale of the bust is being blocked by Egypt.
This bust of the boy king Tutankhamun is being stopped by Egpyt in an attempted sale

However, the auction house estimates that the statue will generate a fee of more than $5.1 million. “The facial features, the full mouth with slightly drooping lower lips, and almond-shaped, slanted eyes, with a deep depression between the eyes and eyebrows — are those of Tutankhamun,” reads the statement from the auction house.

As a result, officials from the Egyptian embassy in London asked the UK Foreign Office to return the statue. As well as halting the sale of other Egyptian artifacts. “Once again, we will not be negligent or allow anybody to sell any Egyptian artifact whatsoever,” reads the statement.

Continuing Controversy

This controversy is the latest stage in Egypt’s ongoing struggle to prevent the sale of stolen artifacts. Consequently, hoping to bring these pieces back to Egypt. Last January, a section of a tablet from the Karnak Open Air Museum in Luxor, Egypt was successfully recovered. Consequently, returning it to Egypt after listing it for auction in London. Monitoring international auction houses for the artifact, the ministry of antiquities removed the piece from the sale and returned to Egypt.

Front facing of bust of Tutankhamun
The auction house claims that the bust has the proper provenance. They will provide documents for its most recent ownership.

However, the auction house is moving to alleviate worries over ownership. “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.”

Marking the centenary of Tutankhamun’s tomb discovery, Earlier this year, Egypt initiated a world tour of 150 King Tut artifacts; including 60 pieces that have never left the country.

The exhibition began in March in Paris and will continue in varying location around the world including London, California, and Sydney until 2021.

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