Silver has interviewed William Pearlstein who is seen as opposing claims by Egypt: "My clients will have an easier time against retention laws”. Silver also quotes Ursula Kampmann, the press officer for the International Association of Dealers in Ancient Art (IADAA): “The incidents during the Egyptian revolution could be taken as basis for a change of discussion ... It comes to the question, what is the best way to protect our world’s cultural heritage?”
Hawass also makes the point:
“Arguments against repatriation because of the current situation in Egypt are completely wrong ... If the police left the streets of New York City, London, or Tokyo, the criminals of those cities would smash the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, or any other museums in those cities.”Thomas Campbell, director of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, has wisely stated that the museum will return the objects relating to Tutankhamun once the political situation has stablised.
I was interviewed for the piece. Instead of rejecting claims on cultural property, museums and those involved in the antiquities market need to be conducting more thorough due diligence checks. Will members of the IADAA ensure that they have full collecting histories of all Egyptian material that they handle? Will the Barcelona Galerista return the material from Saqqara? Will the St Louis Art Museum (SLAM) produce the full authenticated documention relating to the mummy mask that it acquired?
Why does this matter? If we believe in Cosmopolitanism, like Kwame Anthony Appiah and James Cuno, these objects belong to world culture. They are our shared heritage.