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Egypt stands up to the Louvre; cuts ties over artifacts

[ 2009-10-09 11:51]     字号 [] [] []  
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CAIRO: Egypt's antiquities czar took his campaign to recover the nation's lost treasures to a new level on Wednesday by cutting ties with one of the world's premier museums, the Louvre, over disputed artifacts.

The Paris museum's refusal to return painted wall fragments of a 3,200-year-old tomb near the ancient temple city of Luxor could jeopardize its future excavations in Egypt.

It was the most aggressive effort yet by Zahi Hawass, Egypt's tough and media savvy chief archaeologist, in his campaign to reclaim what he says are antiquities stolen from the country and purchased by some of the world's leading museums.

His move appeared to have borne fruit almost immediately. Both the Louvre and France's Culture Ministry said they were ready to return the pieces.

"The Louvre Museum refused to return four archaeological reliefs to Egypt that were stolen during the 1980s from the tomb of the noble Tetaki," said a statement quoting Supreme Council of Antiquities chief Hawass.

This is not the first time Hawass has cut ties with a museum. He took a similar step against the St. Louis Art Museum after it failed to answer his demand to return a 3,200-year-old golden burial mask of a noblewoman. But taking such an action against an institution of the Louvre's stature is unprecedented.

Egypt immediately suspended the Louvre's excavation in the massive necropolis of Saqqara, near Cairo, and canceled a lecture in Egypt by a former curator from the museum.

Thousands of antiquities were spirited out of the country during Egypt's colonial period and afterward by archaeologists, adventurers and thieves.

Hawass' office described the disputed fragments as pieces of a burial fresco showing the nobleman Tetaki's journey to the afterlife and said thieves chipped them from the walls of the tomb near the Valley of the Kings in the 1980s.


1. Where were the disputed artifices originally found?

2. What is the name of Egypt’s chief archaeologist?

3. What were the disputed fragments?


1. In the tomb of Tetaki.

2. Zahi Hawass.

3. Pieces of burial fresco.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Egypt stands up to the Louvre; cuts ties over artifacts

About the broadcaster:

Egypt stands up to the Louvre; cuts ties over artifacts

Chantal Anderson is a multimedia journalist at the China Daily Web site. Originally from Seattle, Washington she has found her way around the world doing photo essays in Greece, Mexico and Thailand. She is currently completing a double degree in Journalism and International Studies from the University of Washington.