Skip to main content

Bonhams Withdraws Egyptian Inscription from the Tomb of Mutirdis (TT410)

More details are beginning to emerge on the Egyptian inscription withdrawn from the sale of antiquities at Bonhams on May 1, 2008 ("Egypt secures auction pullout for artefacts in London and Holland", Egypt Daily News, May 1, 2008).

The text has removed from "a wall in the 26th Dynasty tomb of Mutirdis in Asasif in Luxor". This tomb (TT410) was excavated by Jan Assmann in 1969 so it looks as if the story about the Australian seafarer collecting the piece perhaps as far back as the 1940s lacks substance. A photograph of the text appears in “Das Grab der Mutirdis” (1977).

Bonhams need to make a statement about this. Who translated the text for them? Did the person recognise the text but keep quiet? Were the staff members of the Department of Antiquities at Bonhams unable to conduct a thorough due diligence search? Why were they unable to link the personal names that appear here with the tomb of Mutirdis?

And what other antiquities consigned to Bonhams came from the "Australian seafaring collection"?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Marble bull's head from the temple of Eshmun

Excavations at the temple of Eshmun in Lebanon recovered a marble bull's head. It is now suggested that it was this head, apparently first published in 1967, that was placed on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (Tom Mashberg, "Met Museum Turns Over Another Relic With Disputed Past to Prosecutors", New York Times August 1, 2017 ). The head is reported to have been handed over to the Manhattan district attorney after a request was received from the Lebanese authorities.

It is suggested that the head may have been looted from an archaeological storage area at Byblos in the 1980s during the Lebanese civil war. Mashberg has rehearsed the recent collecting history:
The owners of the bull’s head, Lynda and William Beierwaltes of Colorado, say they have clear title to the item and have sued Manhattan prosecutors for its return.  The Beierwaltes bought the head from a dealer in London in 1996 for more than $1 million and then sold it to another collector, Michael …

Sardinian warrior from "old Swiss collection"

One of the Sardinian bronzes of a warrior was seized from an as yet unnamed Manahattan gallery. It appears to be the one that passed through the Royal-Athena Gallery: Art of the Ancient World 23 (2012) no. 71. The collecting history for that warrior suggests that it was acquired in 1990 from a private collection in Geneva.

Other clues suggested that the warrior has resided in a New York private collection.

The identity of the private collection in Geneva will no doubt be telling.

The warrior also features in this news story: Jennifer Peltz, "Looted statues, pottery returned to Italy after probe in NYC", ABC News May 25 2017.

Mithras relief from Tor Cervara

A fragmentary relief of Mithras was discovered in 1964 at Tor Cervara on the outskirts of Rome. It was acquired by the Museo Nazionale Romano.

A further fragment of the relief was acquired by the Badisches Landesmueum in Kalrsruhe in 1976. The source was an unstated Swiss dealer. This fragment has been reunited with the rest of the relief [press release].

Today a further fragment of the relief was reunited with the other pieces. This had been recovered during a raid in Sardinia.