Egypt asks UK to halt auction of Tutankhamun sculpture

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In this file photograph taken on March 21, 2019, a sculpture depicting Tutankhamun is displayed during the exhibition 'Tutankhamun,Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh' at La Villette in Paris. (AFP)
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In this file photograph taken on March 21, 2019, statuettes are displayed during the exhibition 'Tutankhamun,Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh' at La Villette in Paris. (AFP)
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In this file photograph taken on March 21, 2019, a statuette of Tutankhamun is displayed during the exhibition 'Tutankhamun,Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh' at La Villette in Paris. (AFP)
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In this file photograph taken on March 21, 2019, a sculpture of ancient Egyptian deity Amun is displayed during the exhibition 'Tutankhamun,Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh' at La Villette in Paris. (AFP)
Updated 11 June 2019

Egypt asks UK to halt auction of Tutankhamun sculpture

  • The statement said the antiquities ministry had requested the UN cultural agency UNESCO stop the sales

CAIRO: The Egyptian embassy in London requested that Britain prevent the planned sale by Christie’s of an ancient sculpture representing King Tutankhamun’s head and return it to Egypt, Cairo said.
“The Egyptian embassy in London requested the British foreign affairs ministry and the auction hall to stop the sale,” Egypt’s foreign ministry said.
Christie’s has announced that the brown quartzite head of the pharaoh — measuring 28.5 centimeters high and more than 3,000 years old — would take place on July 4.
It said it expected the sale, from the Resandro Collection — one of the world’s “most renowned private collections of Egyptian art” — to fetch more than four million pounds (4.5 million euros, $5.1 million).
The foreign ministry also requested the sale of all Egyptian items planned by Christie’s during auctions on July 3 and July 4 be stopped, stressing the importance of securing valid ownership certificates before the sale of these items.
The statement also said the antiquities ministry had requested the UN cultural agency UNESCO stop the sales.


A new era: Japan welcomes its 126th emperor and celebrates Reiwa 

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. (AFP)
Updated 2 min 27 sec ago

A new era: Japan welcomes its 126th emperor and celebrates Reiwa 

DUBAI: Japan will welcome its 126th emperor in a fascinating, history-filled ceremony on Tuesday, but who is Naruhito and what will his “era” signify?

On April 1 this year, the Japanese public intently waited for the government to announce the name of the nation’s new imperial era following the abdication of Emperor Akihito, who led Japan for 30 years.

Historically, the implementation of the imperial era name (or gengo) dates back to Japan’s modernization days of the Meiji Era in the late 19th century. Simply put, each emperor represented a new era.

This unique system remains relevant in politics and several aspects of daily life, as it is used in official documents, local newspapers and the Japanese calendar.

But the name is of deeper significance than official use. “It’s supposed to convey a certain meaning and motto of what should come during the reign of the emperor,” Dr. Griseldis Kirsch, a senior lecturer on contemporary Japanese culture at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, told Arab News.

Reiwa, officially translated as beautiful harmony, has been selected as the name for the era of the incoming imperial couple Naruhito and Masako.

A two-character term that is derived from an ancient anthology of Japanese poems known as “Manyoshu,” Reiwa has drawn some controversy since the term is “not entirely clear,” said Kirsch.

Linguistically, the characters’ meanings have changed over time, and there was a lack of agreement on a proper English translation.

Although the term represents peace amid the current troubled times, Reiwa has a slightly passive tone compared to the former Heisei (achieving peace) era.

“It’s about Japan and its inner harmony… that’s pretty clear in the second character ‘wa’ because it can mean ‘Japanese’ or ‘Japan’,” said Kirsch.

The relatively young incoming royals have been described time and again as a “modern couple.”

Masako — a Harvard-educated former diplomat who speaks five languages — gave up a promising career to join the Imperial Court.

Then-Crown Prince Naruhito — an Oxford-educated environmentalist who is dedicated to water conservation — reportedly pursued his wife-to-be for years before she finally married him in 1993, after rejecting his proposals over fears her career would be jeopardized.

The imperial couple have been famously candid about their difficulties in starting a family, with Princess Masako suffering a miscarriage in 1999 while Naruhito slammed press’s harassment of his then-pregnant wife as “truly deplorable.”

The couple gave birth to a girl, Princess Aiko, in 2001.