Sunday, 5 July 2009

Wenneb... shabtis still on Sale, in New York this time

In February we were examining the sale of "Wenneb..." shabtis as a result of which several ethical British dealers withdrew them from sale because it looked likely that they were from a recently looted tomb. No new evidence has emerged to show that these were legitimately excavated and legally exported items, nor any securely provenanced to old collections, so it is therefore disappointing to see they are still on sale. In addition to the UK artefact hunter (still) offering one, we find Windsor Antiquities from New York offering one on eBay. Where did it come from? The seller says nothing.

Ancient Egyptian Faience Ushabti w/Hierogliph C.26th Dynasty 600 BC great details Size 2 1/2 inches high (6.3 cm long) Ancient Egyptian Faience Ushabti conditon perfect .Guaranteed Authenticity. coa available for a charge of $5 each.Shipping and handling $5.00 US and Canada $10.00 International. Combined shipping accepted for multiple lots. Windsor Antiques 1050 Second Avenue Gallery 16, New York, NY 10022 Tel 212-3191077

Instead of a "certificate of authenticity" for an additiona five bucks on top of the thirty or so which is how six eBay biddeers currently price this object, I am sure the ethical collector who knows what is what would far more appreciate copies of the documentation that the object has a verifiably legitimate provenance without which (and given the circumstances) that "authenticity" seems pretty damning. Anyway, any seller who says ths item has "great details" is patently stretching the truth suspiciously in at least that aspect of his description.

Where is Dr Hawass and his merry antiquity board men? Why has he not got a hotline set up so market-watchers can report suspicious things like this to his enormous staff so they can investigate? If this object is one of a group freshly looted and illegally transported out of Egypt as some UK dealers apparently suspect, then surely getting hold of those responsible is far more important in protectng the archaeological heritage than quarrelling about the partage of the 1912 Armarna finds or the other repatriation media storms the Egyptians are currently involved in.

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