The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, April 25, 2018


With Soldiers Patrolling, Egypt's Museums and Monuments are Deserted
An Egyptian restorer fixes one the pieces that was broken by looters at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. Would-be looters broke into Cairo's famed Egyptian Museum on Saturday, Jan. 29, ripping the heads off two mummies and damaging about 75 small artifacts before being caught and detained by army soldiers. AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti.

By: Christopher Torchia, Associated Press


CAIRO (AP).- One of the world's great museums resembled a military camp on Thursday, with soldiers patrolling behind its wrought iron gates and armored vehicles parked nearby. Inside, workers with white coats and latex gloves delicately handled artifacts that were damaged in the chaos sweeping Egypt.

The country's priceless trove of antiquities has emerged mostly unscathed from the unrest so far, but tourism, a pillar of the Egyptian economy, has not. Tens of thousands of foreigners have fled Egypt, many on evacuation flights organized by their governments, draining a key source of employment and foreign currency.

Egypt's most famous tourist attraction, the Pyramids of Giza, reopened to tourists on Wednesday after a 12-day closure. But few came to visit. The heavily guarded and shuttered Egyptian Museum in Cairo is next to Tahrir Square, a protest encampment that draws hundreds of thousands of people on some days.

"We will open the museum after the strike is finished. I don't know when the strike is finished," said Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass, referring to the upheaval. "I need things to go back to normal."

Egypt's conflict pits autocratic President Hosni Mubarak against protesters who want him out now. Anti-government demonstrators and Mubarak supporters battled in front of the Egyptian Museum's pink-walled facade last week, raising fears of widespread destruction of the most coveted artifacts from the age of the pharaohs.

In earlier unrest, the adjacent headquarters of the ruling party was set afire, and its blackened shell looms over the museum.

Some 70 objects at the Victorian-era Egyptian Museum, many of them small statues, were damaged after looters broke into the museum and smashed showcases in late January. On Thursday, several dozen items lay on tables in a conservation room, examined by experts with small tools and adhesive.

Some were funerary items of Yuya and Tuya, parents of a queen. Their tomb was found in the Valley of the Kings at Luxor in 1905, though that remarkable find was eclipsed by the discovery of Tutankhamun's well-preserved tomb by British archaeologist Howard Carter less than two decades later.

Hawass said "the only important piece" that was damaged was a statue of Tutankhamun, the boy king, on a panther. The figure of the standing king, one arm broken off, lay separate from that of the panther.

"The skilled hand of this man will return everything back," the minister, gesturing at a colleague. "This is the most damaged piece of the group."

Workers also planned to restore a walking stick of Tutankhamun that was stripped of its thin gold sheeting when it was thrown on the floor.

The Victorian-style building is a place of marvels, even if the lighting is poor and there are none of the interactive displays and other novelties of modern museums. Faded, typewritten cards perch in the corners of display cases, explaining the heritage in tiny print.

On a normal day, the museum is jammed with foreign tourists, surveying treasures of an ancient civilization — mummies, alabaster caskets, granite statues, chariots and gold sheet thrones. One bed incorporates wildlife shapes — the head of a hippopotamus, a leopard's body and the back and tail of a crocodile.

But on Thursday, the majestic stone faces and forms lining the halls had the place largely to themselves.

Only a few museum workers, soldiers and journalists walked the dimly lit chambers. In their haste and in the darkness, looters had rampaged just a few feet from the room containing Tutankhamun's gold burial mask and other invaluable pieces. Its padlock was intact.

Hawass said the looters were looking for gold and a fictitious substance called "red mercury" that, according to local lore, can be found in the throats of ancient mummies. Some people think it has magical powers and can be used to summon spirits.

"They live thinking about it. They could kill each other to get it," Hawass said. "When I enter any place in Egypt, people ask me all the time about this."

The museum is still checking to determine whether any items are missing. On his website, Hawass said an additional five items that were stolen from an archaeological storage site in Qantara, near the Suez Canal, were apparently discarded in the desert and police returned them Tuesday.

Authorities have recovered a total of 293 objects at the Qantara site, and an inventory was under way.

Hawass sought to project a sense of normalcy, reaching high for comparisons. He suggested that other great repositories of culture — the British Museum and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art — were equally vulnerable to plunder or destruction.

"It can happen to any place in the world," said Hawass, who faces demands for higher wages from antiquities workers who demonstrated outside his office this week.


Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.





Today's News

February 10, 2011

Paul Gauguin's "Nature Morte a 'L'Esperance," Fails to Sell at Christie's Auction in London

With Soldiers Patrolling, Egypt's Museums and Monuments are Deserted

Sotheby's to Offer a Selection of Magnificent Imperial Porcelain from 'The Meiyintang Collection'

An Unknown Son of Pakal II of Palenque has Been Identified by Mexican Archaeologists

Guitar Heroes Exhibition Features Instruments Created by Three Legendary Master Craftsmen

Paris to Be Sotheby's European Centre for Decorative Art and Photographs Sales

Sotheby's to Auction 106 Monumental Early Works by Contemporary Chinese Artists

Dynamics! Cubism / Futurism / Kineticism on View at the Belvedere in Vienna

Students Reinterpret Paintings in "Look Again... Stories of the World" on Display at The Courtauld Gallery

Vettriano Self-Portrait to Go on Show in New Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Fine Jewelry Auction at Morphy's Features Private Collection of Florida Jewelers

The Whitney Opens Exhibition of Highlights from Emily Fisher Landau's Collection

West Dean Tapestry Studio and Tracey Emin Collaborate on Tapestry to Be Unveiled at Saatchi Gallery

Louise Nevelson Work of Art Cleaned in Nelson-Atkins Gallery While Visitors Watch

Exhibition at Fundació Suñol of 27 Works, Dating from 1924-1998, Reflect the Visions of 18 Artists

Sexual Nature Exhibition at London's Natural History Museum has Celebrity Attraction

Christian Lacroix Selects Traditional Costumes from the Near East for Exhibition

Chinese: Pennsylvania Museum Never OK'd for Mummies Exhibit

Bonhams to Sell Ex-Debenhams Chairman Sir Frederick Richmond's Extensive Needlework Collection

Clifton Childree Creates a Gigantic Installation Comprised of Films and Found Objects at Kunsthalle Wien

Maryhill Museum of Art Board of Trustees Unanimous in Decision to Begin Construction on New Wing

The Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts Opens at Brown University

Extremely Rare and Important William Blake Letter on "The Last Judgement" for Sale at Bonhams

Thousands of Historical Mexican Photographs Now Part of an Electronic Catalogue

A New Antony Gormley Sculpture "Transport" Unveiled at Canterbury Cathedral

Henrik Olesen Presents New Works at MoMA for His First U.S. Solo Museum Exhibition

Paul Ruddock Elected a Trustee of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

New National Immigration Museum Urged for DC

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez


Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful