Tuesday, July 1, 2014

St Louis Art Museum: The Egyptian Mummy Mask

The legal decision (conveniently discussed by Rik St Hilare here) that the Egyptian mummy mask acquired by the St Louis Art Museum will not be returning to Egypt leaves some questions unanswered.

I have discussed this mask elsewhere. But if we summarise, we can state that we know that it was excavated at Saqqara.

But what about these issues?

What is the authenticated documented collecting history of the mask between 1952 and 1995?

What is the Kaloterna collection?

Can Zuzi Jalinek's testimony be considered trustworthy?

How could the mask be in Cairo and form part of the Kaloterna collection at the same point in time?

Have SLAM curators checked the Cairo register and explained the anomaly in the "received" collecting history?

The officials at SLAM may feel that the legal case is closed.

But if the testimony by Jalinek is flawed, as it clearly appears to be, then the Director and Trustees of SLAM have an ethical obligation to return the mask to Egypt.

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1 comment:

Heather Lee said...

I agree that those questions have not been fully answered, at least to the concerned public and archaeologists. These gaps in the provenance provided by SLAM, as you point out here, prompted me to think more about how this conflict could come to an end: http://www.savingantiquities.org/can-ka-nefer-nefer-dispute-ended/. Thanks for the great post!


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