Wednesday, 24 October 2012

SLAM Belatedly Decides to do the Decent Thing?

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The ever-vigilant Rick St Hilaire is reporting tonight ( SLAM Litigants Move Toward Resolving Ka Nefer Nefer Mummy Mask Case, October 24, 2012) a new and potentially significant development in the ongoing Ka Nefer-Nefer mummy mask scandal:
The St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM), the United States government, and the Republic of Egypt are in talks to settle the contest over title to the mummy mask of Ka Nefer Nefer.
At the same time the US government submitted a motion to the court a week ago requesting the suspension of the legal proceedings and announcing that "the parties believe that continued discussions will be productive and that there is a significant possibility that they will reach a resolution that would obviate the need for the appeal to continue". It is not clear at this stage whether such a settlement envisages that the mask will stay on loan at SLAM, or whether it will be taken back to Egypt. If such a settlement is reached, SLAM is to be congratulated in at last seeing its position had become wholly untenable. Too bad it took them so long, and in the process did a lot of damage to their own reputation, that of US museums generally and the city of St Louis. Let us hope this dirty little chapter will soon be closed.

6 comments:

DR.KWAME OPOKU said...

I would like to congratulate all concerned for agreeing to settle the matter out of court. It seems to me that a majority of restitution issues between Western museums and African countries could be settled out of court if Western museums abandoned their arrogance and inflexibility which often appear as a shield for avoiding detailed discussions of the issues involved. For continued good relations, the parties are better served by mutual solution than a victory by one side. But if one side does not seem to be in a hurry, legal proceedings might be the right tonic.
Dr. Kwame Opoku

moneyjihad said...

Egypt didn't prove itself to be a very good steward of the mask in the first place. Upon transfer from SLAM back to Egypt, what assurance is there that the mask won't go "missing" again?

Paul Barford said...

moneyj.

Why do you think it is OUR business?

Is that not a rather paternalistic view?

There is every chance that it could be stolen from the SLAM in the same way as seven paintings went missing from the Dutch Museum last week, a load of coins from the ANS recently, a load of presidential documents from US national archives and the paintings from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Thieves are thieves, and they steal wherever they want. There is however NO excuse for a museum like SLAM holding onto stolen property once it is clear that this is what they have.

moneyjihad said...

That the mask is "stolen" is what is unclear. The judge in this case was presented with no evidence of theft. Egypt had recorded it as missing. SLAM researched the mask before the purchase which came up clean.

Maybe if Egypt had put an offer on the table a year ago to buy the mask from SLAM, most of the legal wrangling could have been avoided.

Paul Barford said...

If you do not believe the mask is stolen, that rather makes nonsense of your earlier statement.

Why not read up on what you are talking about before spouting off your xenophobic hatred?

[There is plenty of coverage in the gaps in the mask's collecting history on this blog, before you even start looking elsewhere].

Paul Barford said...

and why on Earth should Egypt buy back from America what the Americans stole from it?

 
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