New York museum returns stolen ancient Egyptian coffin

New York museum returns stolen ancient Egyptian coffin

The 2,100-year-old  prestigious  Egyptian artefact coffin of a priest called Nedjemankh has been returned by Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The stolen ancient Egyptian coffin was featured in an exhibit housing artefacts from Egypt. The antique was sold to the museum by a global art trafficking network, which used fraudulent documents, officials said.

The coffin, which dates back to the 1st Century BC, the museum unknowingly bought the prestigious artefact for $4m (£3.2m) from a Parisian art dealer. It was first shipped to Germany where it was restored before being transported to France.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry held a repatriation ceremony in New York Wednesday to show off the glittering 2,100-year-old coffin of an ancient Egyptian priest called Nedjemankh (neh’-jeh-MAHNK’).

The gilded coffin was looted and smuggled out of Egypt in 2011. “Thus far our investigation has determined that this coffin is just one of hundreds of antiquities stolen by the same multinational trafficking ring,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said at a repatriation ceremony in New York on Wednesday, adding that there could be more similar seizures.

ancient Egyptian coffin

The museum was given a forged 1971 Egyptian export licence, among other false documents, prosecutors told US local media. Officials said the grand and ornate coffin had been buried in the country’s Minya region for 2,000 years before it was stolen in 2011.

“This is not only for Egyptians but this is for our common human heritage,” Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Hassan Shoukry said, quoted by Reuters. It will next be on display in Egypt in 2020.

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