Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities called for an urgent meeting on Monday, in order to discuss the escalating measure the government is to take after the sale of Tutankhamun’s statue at Christie’s Auction House, despite the country’s outrage.
The meeting will be held by the Egypt’s National Committee for the Repatriation of Stolen Antiquities, with the attendance of Minister of Antiquities, Khaled El-Anany, and Zahi Hawass, the former minister of antiquities.
The 3,000-year-old statue was purchased last Thursday for £4,746,250 by an anonymous buyer and the auction house refused to mention his name. The five-minute auction took place despite Egypt’s statements that the statue was illegally stolen from Egypt.
Irrespective of continuous requests, Christie’s Auction House did not provide any authentication evidence of the statue, and it did not announce its provenance.
It only previously stated, according to the Financial Times, that it dates back to 1960’s “when Christie’s said it formed part of the collection of Prince Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis, a German collector. It subsequently passed through the hands of dealers until bought by the current owners in 1985.”
Egypt claims that the statue was illegally smuggled from the country.
“I believe that it was taken out of Egypt illegally,” Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities told Reuters news agency, adding that the auction house did not provide any official documents to prove the origin of the sold statue.
The sold statue of Egypt’s most famous pharaoh is 11 inches high and carved from brown quartzite.
Christie’s published the official results of selling the statue on its website, stating that according to London’s Head of Ancient Art & Antiquities, Laetitia Delaloye, “It is little wonder, then, that so many people have wanted to own this work of art.”
“This piece is so special because when you stand in front of it, you’re just blown away by the fact that a sculptor, over 3,000 years ago, used all his skills to create the most beautiful representation of the king,” she added.