Monday, 2 January 2023

"Green Coffin" of Priest Ankhenmaat Returns to Egypt

BBC Ancient Egyptian 'Green Coffin' returned to Cairo by US, Jan 2 2022.

A looted ancient Egyptian sarcophagus that was on display at a US museum has been returned to Egypt. The 2.9m (9.5ft) long "Green Coffin" dates back to the Late Dynastic Period, which spanned 664BC to 332BC, and belonged to a priest called Ankhenmaat. It was looted from the Abu Sir necropolis in north Egypt by a global art trafficking network, which smuggled it through Germany into the US in 2008.[...] In September, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said the Green Coffin, which was valued at over $1m (£830,000), was illegally trafficked out of Egypt by a multinational network of antiquities smugglers. The network was also responsible for trafficking the "Gold Coffin", which was which was returned to Egypt in 2019, the Stele of Pa-di-Sena, which is also from the Late Dynastic Period and was handed over in 2020, and five pieces seized from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art last year.
Neither the collector who bought a recently smuggled item, nor the dealer they bought it from are named. A press release links it with the Dib-Simonian network, and says the unnamed collector had loaned the piece to the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University until 2013, when it was loaned to Houston Museum of Natural Sciences. An earlier article mntions the loan again without naming the collector handling this item, but giving an insight into how artefacts are viewed in US America (Whitney Radley, 'Yes, size matters: Green Giant sarcophagus wows at Houston Museum of Natural Science unveiling ' May 15, 2013)
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is preparing to unveil its 10,000-square-foot Hall of Ancient Egypt at the end of May, but on Wednesday, curator of anthropology Dr. Dirk Van Tuerenhout and consulting curator Tom Hardwick introduced the press to the first of its new residents. A remarkably preserved artifact carved from sycamore wood, the sarcophagus of Gemshuankh, a priest of the god Herishef, dates back to the Ptolemaic period. The sarcophagus has been nicknamed the "Green Giant" for its brightly-painted face (symbolic of rebirth) and its length (a whopping 10 feet). "Size has always mattered throughout human history," explained Hardwick, noting that the Egyptian priest's colossal commemoration was a status symbol for the afterlife. [...]

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