Egypt challenges sale of valuable ancient statue - KPTV - FOX 12

Egypt challenges sale of valuable ancient statue

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Christie's). In this undated  photo provided by Christie's a 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue on display. (AP Photo/Christie's). In this undated photo provided by Christie's a 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue on display.
By MATTHEW KNIGHT
Associated Press

LONDON (AP) - Egypt is challenging a British museum's planned sale of a 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue that is expected to fetch up to 6 million pounds ($10 million) at a London auction.

Former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass told the BBC Wednesday that the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, 106 kilometers (66 miles) north of London, has no right to sell the statue.

"We are not asking for the statue to come back to Egypt but we are asking to stop the sale of the statue," he said. The position is endorsed by Mamdouh el-Damaty, the current antiquities minister.

The Northampton Borough Council owns the statue and says it wants to sell the work to fund an expansion of the museum, which claims to hold the world's largest historic shoe collection.

The plan is drawing some criticism at home as well. Alice Stevenson, curator at London's Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, said selling such a rare and unique statue undermines the purpose of a museum.

"It should not be used to plug a hole in a local council budget," she said.

Auction house Christie's, which is putting the statue up for sale Thursday, said in a statement that there are no grounds to postpone the sale.

Northampton Council said it will share 45 percent of proceeds with Lord Northampton, whose family acquired the item in Egypt in 1849 or 1850, and donated it to the Northampton museum in 1880. The Egyptian collection is small and is not central to the museum's purpose, a council spokeswoman said.

The 75 centimeter (30 inches) high limestone statue depicts an official named Sekhema with his wife, and is believed to come from the Royal Cemeteries at Saqqara, south of Giza.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Egypt in turmoilMore>>

  • Peace talks eyed after Israel, Hamas cease-fire

    Peace talks eyed after Israel, Hamas cease-fire

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 3:53 PM EDT2014-07-22 19:53:30 GMT
    The U.S. and Egypt sought Tuesday to find an end to two weeks of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, and officials raised the possibility of restarting stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities as a...More >
    The U.S. and Egypt sought Tuesday to find an end to two weeks of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, and officials raised the possibility of restarting stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities as a necessary...More >
  • Egypt calls for Israeli, Palestinian peace talks

    Egypt calls for Israeli, Palestinian peace talks

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 4:51 AM EDT2014-07-22 08:51:27 GMT
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is hoping to get international support for a Mideast cease-fire. But he acknowledges the differences between Israel and Hamas run very deep and must be addressed in any long-term...More >
    Egypt's foreign minister raised the possibility Tuesday of restarting stalled peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians as part of negotiating a cease-fire in the war that has broken out on the Gaza Strip.More >
  • Death toll rises to 22 in Egypt border post attack

    Death toll rises to 22 in Egypt border post attack

    Sunday, July 20 2014 2:22 PM EDT2014-07-20 18:22:19 GMT
    A military official says the death toll among troops from a brazen attack on a border post in Egypt's western desert has risen to 22.More >
    The death toll from a brazen attack on a border post in Egypt's western desert along the border with Libya has risen to 22 troops, including three officers, the military said Sunday.More >
Powered by WorldNow
FOX 12
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation, Portland, OR and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.