Friday, April 23, 2010

Hawass calls on St Louis Art Museum to return mummy mask

Zahi Hawass has called on the St Louis Art Museum (SLAM) to return the mummy mask that appears to have been removed from one of the archaeological stores at Saqqara (Ula Ilnytzky, "Egyptian official chides museums over antiquities", AP April 22, 2010).

Last week, he said, he turned over to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security "all the evidence that I have to prove that this mask was stolen, and we have to bring it back."
On Wednesday, St. Louis Art Museum spokeswoman Jennifer Stoffel, said the institution "had correspondence with Hawass in 2006 and 2007 and has not heard anything on the matter since."
At the time, she said the museum shared information with Hawass on the mask's provenance and said "we would do the right thing ... if there was something that refuted the legitimacy of the provenance."
The St. Louis museum has said it bought the mask from an art dealer in the United States in 1998 after checking with authorities and with the international Art Loss Register. It said it also approved the purchase with the Egyptian Museum.
Earlier calls for its return as well as the different versions of its collecting history can be found here.

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