Image via cntraveler
Global awareness and commitment to returning cultural artefacts to their countries of origin have recently grown. Numerous galleries and institutions have started reassessing their collections and working with nations like Egypt to encourage the return of stolen or illicitly obtained things. These actions are linked to global agreements and moral concerns about safeguarding cultural heritage. Concurrently, over the years, Egypt has taken action on cultural heritage artefacts that were unlawfully taken from the country. Retrieving stolen artefacts is more of an expansive and cultural movement to celebrate and protect our heritage.
Recently, a theft of Egyptian artefacts took place at the British Museum, and Egypt’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has been actively following up with the museum concerning retrieving these stolen pharaonic items. Last month, George Osborne, the Chair of trustees at the British Museum trustees, declared that 2,000 objects had been stolen. Later, some of the stolen objects were reported to be recovered. As a result of this incident, Hartwig Fischer, the museum director, resigned.
As a follow-up to the incident, Mostafa Waziry, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, reported that communication regarding the details of stolen pharaonic artefacts has been ongoing with the British Museum’s management. In light of the ongoing investigations, the Antiquities Ministry is waiting for the results obtained to unravel the stolen pieces. To push the retrieving movement further, the Egyptian government will resume taking the necessary steps to regain pieces that could be proved to have been removed from Egypt illegally.
So far, Egypt has successfully retrieved more than 30,000 artefacts since 2014. Fast forward to 2019, and they regained possession of Nedjemankh’s coffin from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. As of this year, Egypt has recovered several items, including the head of a mummy and 14 pieces from Paris, the head of King Rameses II from Switzerland, and the priest Ankh-En-Maat’s coffin, aka the Green Coffin, from the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences in Texas.
True to their words, the Egyptian museum has been on a rescue mission to retrieve what was stolen from our beloved country and restore our cultural history.