Egypt displays restoration of Tutankhamun gilded coffin

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An archaeologist restores the sarcophagus of Egypt's boy-king Tutankhamun at the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza. (Reuters)
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An archaeologist restores an animal figure belonging to Egypt's boy-king Tutankhamun at the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza. (Reuters)
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The gilded coffin of King Tutankhamun during a restoration process. (AFP)
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A worker restores an artifact at the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza. (AP)
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An Egyptian archaeologist restores the throne of the throne of King Tutankhamun. (AFP)
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An Egyptian restoring the coffin of King Tutankhamun. (AFP)
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An Egyptian archaeologist operates to restore the coffin of King Tutankhamun. (AFP)
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Egyptian archaeologists restore the coffin and mummy of King Tutankhamun at the conservation center in the Grand Egyptian Museum. (AFP)
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n archaeologist restores the mummy of Tutankhamun next to a sarcophagus. (Reuters)
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The gilded coffin of King Tutankhamun. (AFP)
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An archaeologist restores the mummy of Tutankhamun at the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza. (Reuters)
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An archaeologist works next to the sarcophagus of Tutankhamun. (Reuters)
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An Egyptian archaeologist restores the throne of King Tutankhamun. (AFP)
Updated 05 August 2019

Egypt displays restoration of Tutankhamun gilded coffin

  • Restoration process began in mid-July after the three-tiered coffin was transferred to the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo
  • The golden coffin of the boy king will be displayed along with other Tutankhamun artefacts toward the end of next year

CAIRO: Egypt displayed on Sunday the gilded coffin of Tutankhamun, under restoration for the first time since the boy king’s tomb was discovered in 1922.
The restoration process began in mid-July after the three-tiered coffin was transferred to the new Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo from the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, southern Egypt.


“We are showing you a unique historical artefact, not just for Egypt but for the world,” Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany told a press conference at the new museum, which overlooks the famed Giza Pyramids.

The golden coffin of the boy king will be displayed along with other Tutankhamun artefacts toward the end of next year when Egypt’s new mega-museum is opened to the public.
The restoration is expected to take around eight months.


The outer gilded wood coffin stands at 2.23 meters (7.3 feet) and is decorated with a depiction of the boy king holding the pharaonic symbols the flail and crook, according to the ministry.
In the last century, the coffin has “developed cracks in its gilded layers of plaster, especially those of the lid and base.”


Famed British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of the 18th dynasty king in Luxor in 1922.
Sunday’s announcement comes after the controversy the Pharoah courted in early July when a 3,000-year-old Tutankhamun artefact was sold in London for $6 million.
Furious Egyptian officials condemned the sale and asked the international police agency Interpol to trace the artefact which it deems looted.


Hagia Sophia verdict seen as Erdogan’s attempt to ‘mask economic failure’

Updated 11 July 2020

Hagia Sophia verdict seen as Erdogan’s attempt to ‘mask economic failure’

  • President signs decree to reopen heritage site — Roman Empire’s first cathedral — as mosque

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree on Friday to reopen Hagia Sophia, the UNESCO world heritage site that was the Roman Empire’s first Christian cathedral, constructed in the sixth century CE, as a mosque.

UNESCO had previously urged Turkish authorities “to engage in dialogue before taking any decision that might impact the universal value of the site.”

The long-predicted move has been widely interpreted as an attempt to rally conservative nationalist voters around the ruling party and its nationalist coalition partner ahead of snap elections that many have forecast will happen next year. Several commentators, however, doubt the efficacy of the move given that — under the current economic conditions — the majority of the Turkish people are focused on more urgent matters.

Around 55 percent of respondents to a poll conducted by Turkey’s Metropoll in June said the main reason for announcing the reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque would be to distract from debates on Turkey’s economic crisis and to boost the government’s hand ahead of a snap election.

Soner Cagaptay of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy said the move is another step in Erdogan’s attempt to impose his “brand of conservative Islam,” in direct opposition to the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s secular revolution.

“Just as Ataturk ‘un-mosqued’ Hagia Sophia 86 years ago, and gave it museum status to underline his secularist revolution, Erdogan is remaking it a mosque to underline his religious revolution,” Cagaptay said.

The reconversion of Hagia Sophia into a mosque, regardless of domestic and international criticism, overlaps with Erdogan’s desire to be the “new sultan” of the country, he continued.

“Erdogan is already patronizing the construction of two mosques in Istanbul. He wants to leave a political and religious imprint behind, and Hagia Sophia completes his ‘trilogy’ of mosques,” he said.

But, Cagaptay noted, there is a tactical aspect to the announcement as well.

“As a nativist-populist leader, Erdogan hopes to rally his base by underlining their ‘victim’ narrative — saying, ’How dare these secularists deny us, pious Muslims, the liberty to pray at Hagia Sophia?’” he said.

BACKGROUND

  • The long-predicted move has been widely interpreted as an attempt to rally conservative- nationalist voters around the ruling party ahead of snap polls.

Cagaptay, along with other experts, believes any boost Erdogan may enjoy following the announcement will likely be undermined by Turkey’s ongoing economic challenges, including high inflation and unemployment rates.

Last year, Hagia Sophia drew 3.7 million tourists to its famed dome, rust-colored walls and ornamental minarets. But many believe Erdogan’s latest move will hurt the country’s popularity as a tourist destination.

“Turkey’s global brand as a Muslim-majority society that is open to its Christian past is going to be irreversibly damaged,” Cagaptay said.

“One of the effects of the conversion of Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque will be a spike in Islamophobia in the West and elsewhere. Which, of course, Erdogan will then use to his advantage,” Dimitar Bechev of the Atlantic Council tweeted.