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article imageEgyptian statue controversially sold in U.K.

By Tim Sandle     Jul 11, 2014 in Entertainment
London - A 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue expected to raise about £6 million ($10 million) has sold for £15.76 million ($27 million) at Christie's of London. The artifact was sold by Northampton Borough Council. The sale has caused some controversy.
The statue is over 4,500 years old and it dates to the Old Kingdom, Late Dynasty 5,circa 2400–2300 B.C. It depicts a man called Sekhemka, who was the Inspector of the scribes of
the royal court. The sculpture was originally acquired by the 2nd Marquess of Northampton during his travels in Egypt in 1849. It was given to the Northampton Museum by the 3rd Marquess of Northampton around 1880.
Northampton Borough Council auctioned the Sekhemka limestone statue to help fund an extension to Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. In doing so, however, the Arts Council England has warned the council its museum could lose its accreditation status. This is because the Arts Council felt that the valued statue should remain in the U.K.
To add even more controversy to the sale, the Egyptian ambassador to Britain said the council should have handed the statue back to Egypt if it did not want it. His Excellency Ahsraf Elkholy, the Egyptian Ambassador condemned the sale as an "an abuse to the Egyptian archaeology and the cultural property."
Quoted by the BBC, he went onto say: "Our objection starts from this basic principle: how can a museum sell a piece in its collection when it should be on display to the public? We are concerned this piece may be moved into a private collection. A museum should not be a store. Sekhemka belongs to Egypt and if Northampton Borough Council does not want it then it must be given back. It's not ethical that it will be sold for profit and also not acceptable. The council should have consulted with the Egyptian government."
In support of the Ambassador, protesters gathered outside Christie's before the sale said they wanted the statue to be returned to Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities. Protests also came from renowned comic book writer Alan Moore (Watchmen and the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen).
The auctioneer, Christie's of London, has not revealed who has purchased the statue.
More about Egyptian statue, Sekhemka, Christie's
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