Just Ancient Egypt

John B

Ad Honorem
Mar 2016
3,882
Canada
Christie's should have disclosed the full documentation on the bust. That tells me there may be an issue with the chain of custody of the statue. There should also be a valid export document if removed in modern times. If the item magically appears after the date of export restrictions there is a real issue.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,210
Welsh Marches
I would be most surprised, especially in view of the prior publicity, if Christie's have not been advised by their lawyers that they have sufficient documentation to show that the head was not smuggled out of Egypt in the 1970s, since to sell dubious items that will have to be recovered is both pointless and damaging to their reputation; the matter will be decided in the courts in any case.
 

John B

Ad Honorem
Mar 2016
3,882
Canada
I would be most surprised, especially in view of the prior publicity, if Christie's have not been advised by their lawyers that they have sufficient documentation to show that the head was not smuggled out of Egypt in the 1970s, since to sell dubious items that will have to be recovered is both pointless and damaging to their reputation; the matter will be decided in the courts in any case.
The issue is that it is all affidavits from lawyers. We need to see the actual permits of export or the excavation report from the 1890's etc. Lawyers affirming layers is verbage on toilet paper. They are documents without a base. The only thing that counts is the origin documents. If you do not have that you do not have a legal basis to have the item.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,210
Welsh Marches
The issue is that it is all affidavits from lawyers. We need to see the actual permits of export or the excavation report from the 1890's etc. Lawyers affirming layers is verbage on toilet paper. They are documents without a base. The only thing that counts is the origin documents. If you do not have that you do not have a legal basis to have the item.
It is impossible to reach any rational conclusion about the matter from newspaper reports; as I said, Chrisitie's must be fairly confident (rightly or wrongly!) that they have sufficient documentation to fulfil the law on the matter, and the courts will reach a decision by examining the evidence that is submitted to it by both sides. Until then we are in no position to argue any further about the point.
 

John B

Ad Honorem
Mar 2016
3,882
Canada
It is impossible to reach any rational conclusion about the matter from newspaper reports; as I said, Chrisitie's must be fairly confident (rightly or wrongly!) that they have sufficient documentation to fulfil the law on the matter, and the courts will reach a decision by examining the evidence that is submitted to it by both sides. Until then we are in no position to argue any further about the point.
Then why not disclose the documents for review? Lack of transparency to me with any institution is always a signal that there may be an issue. Unless they disclose in total there will always be a bad taste to this.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,054
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Then why not disclose the documents for review? Lack of transparency to me with any institution is always a signal that there may be an issue. Unless they disclose in total there will always be a bad taste to this.
Wait, also after Brexit UK is going to have a privacy law which will be identical to the EU one [at least this is what UK government has said so far. The reason is simple: UK doesn't want restrictions about data from EU], but now EU laws about privacy are valid here as in UK. Total disclosure of documents could affect the privacy of some subjects. Only before a judiciary authority [if there is a privacy matter] this can be possible.
 

John B

Ad Honorem
Mar 2016
3,882
Canada
Wait, also after Brexit UK is going to have a privacy law which will be identical to the EU one [at least this is what UK government has said so far. The reason is simple: UK doesn't want restrictions about data from EU], but now EU laws about privacy are valid here as in UK. Total disclosure of documents could affect the privacy of some subjects. Only before a judiciary authority [if there is a privacy matter] this can be possible.
Legislation could get around this when focused on a specific area such as antiquities, Maybe starting with a UB directive.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,054
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Legislation could get around this when focused on a specific area such as antiquities, Maybe starting with a UB directive.
Not in public, according to GDPR, you've got the right that the public doesn't know that you have owned that piece, like without your consensus, the auction houses has got the duty to keep this private. Christie's will give all the documentation to a jugde [or a court], not to a journalist or to a TV channel or to a newspaper ...

As for I know there is the possibility there will be a trial, so a court will evaluate what Christie's has done.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,210
Welsh Marches
The provenace has been published until it was acquired from a Prince of Thurn and Taxis by a Vienna gallery in 1973/4; but there seems to be a vagueness about how long the Prince had owned it, which is evidently relevant to the question of whether it had been smuggled out of Egypt at a quite recent date, as the Egyptian authorities claim - that is the point that the courts will be asked to judge upon. The auction house is naturally not going to release all its documentation to be judged to be judged by the media.
 

Corvidius

Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
3,047
Crows nest
On my understanding of this, as the bust is reported as being stolen from Karnak in the 1970s, then if there is proof of it's existence at Karnak a few decades earlier, say the 1950s, this could show that it was stolen in modern times and not removed legally or otherwise in the 19th and into the early 20th centuries. In his huge tome on Karnak, centered around photos taken in the mid 1950s, R.A. Schwaller du Lubicz mentions two smashed statues of Tutankhamun as Amun, both of them having been subsequently taken over by Horemheb. These are not to be confused with the statues of Amun and Aumunet which are still at Karnak. In his book, Schwaller de Lubicz reproduces a photo of one of the smashed statues, though it is not the one in question, but, while he made photos of just about everything else at Karnak, has not reproduced a photo of the second smashed statue. This is of course not evidence that the bust in question is part of the smashed statue that Schwaller de Lubicz observed in the 1950s, and did not record, but it at least does show the possibility of the bust in question having still been at Karnak in the 1950s.