Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Ka Nefer Nefer: What Did Michel van Rijn Know Seven Years Ago?

Van Rijn said something SLAM
apparently did not want to hear
In the spring of 1998 the St Louis Art Museum acquired the Ka Nefer Nefer mask that is now known to have been excavated at Saqqara. It was Michel van Rijn who first drew public attention to the recently excavated origin of the mask, a cause later taken up by Ton Cremers in late December 2005 on the Museum Security Network. In January 2006 Brent R. Benjamin, the Director of SLAM, dismissed these concerns "Mr. van Rijn has supplied no information in support of his accusation" which has been the Museum's stance ever since despite increasing doubts about the collecting history they have supplied to explain its presence in their collections. Yet, isn't it odd that Michem Van Rijn knew where that mask had been found well before the SLAM released that information? How did van Rijn know that if he did not know about the history of the object from the Museum's "due diligence"? Clairvoyance, maybe? After all SLAM are already claiming that according to the documentation, their magical mask was in two places at the same time. As David Gill says:
SLAM needs to release the full set of documentation that would reveal when members of staff in the museum first became aware of the Saqqara association. Serious questions will need to be raised if it becomes clear that SLAM staff knew about the link months or even years before December 2005 but did not contact the Egyptian authorities.
Did they or didn't they once they had this new information and spotted the potential significance of the scraped-off inscription? 


Museum Security Network said...

Paul, do ask Michel van Rijn.......

Paul Barford said...

Do you think he will now say something different than what he put on his website? He was quite explicit and names names there as you recall.

My question was rhetorical. SLAM trustees dismiss MvR's whole story, despite knowing that it contained at least one element which matched what they had determined and at that time apparently not made public. I think we are justified in asking why.

It is one thing establishing how the object left Egypt, another is how a major academic institution deals with the information they have which does not fit the picture they want to present. How do they select what to accept and what to dismiss? Are these arbitrary, academically supportable and reasoned or convenient choices?

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.