Wednesday 12 August 2020

UK Dealer Shows Disrespect for the Dead


While on the topic of colonialism and dehumanisation in the no-questions-asked international antiquities market, take a look at how a UK dealer not only disrespects the cultural patrimony of a modern nation in the Middle East, but callously disrespects the dead, a death-themed "Christmas card to all my customers":

I do not think most of us are really having a very good 2020. I really have issues here with this. Those "mummy masks" are not artefacts in their own rights. They are just part (about 15/20%) of just the front of a more complex timber artefact, somebody's coffin, from which they've been callously levered off to sell (while the rest ends up dumped, together with the disturbed human remains). But these are not just any old coffins, mummy cases have a specific form for a reason, and just as the "mummy mask" (sic) has been "portableised" from the coffin itself, wrecking it, so the coffin was an integral part of the whole human burial. To those that respectfully buried the dead, the coffin and mummy within meant that the corpse was transformed into the 'justified Osiris' that is mentioned on the inscriptions that accompanied it. These ensured that the deceased will have eternal life. But no, Rothwell is flogging off the shattered remnants of the Osiris so he can roleplay being an "Oldschool adventurer and lover of history", but it's also about control, controlling the past and controlling the message that these remnants carry. So what does he do? Puts them on a message celebrating the birth of another figure (one associated with his own culture, not those of the deceased) that also claims to offer eternal life to his followers. That is just downright disrespectful, first to the memory of the four unfortunates that ended up losing their afterlife to Mr Rothwells's profit margins and his greedy customer's acquisitiveness, but also to the beliefs of Christians that Rothwell has just cheapened by this stunt.

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