According to an Italian Egyptologist, one of the Egyptian Museum of Cairo’s most prized ancient paintings could be a 19th-century archeological forgery.
What would you do if you accidentally broke one of the world’s most valuable relics?
Glue it back together? Quickly? Before anyone noticed?
The egotistical Hawass is baaaack! Less than a month after leaving his post as Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities due to revolution fallout, Zahi Hawass has returned to the job.
Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities has released the final list of the historic objects that have gone missing from the Egyptian Museum since the January 25th revolution began … while in Spain, a museum finds a van Dyck in its basement.
On February 2nd, a post published on now-Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass’s blog categorically stated: “I would like the people of the world to know that today all of the Egyptian monuments are safe.” The post assures us that no major Egyptian archaeological sites have been seriously damaged besides the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, at the epicenter of the protests that recently overthrew Mubarak’s government (of which Zahi Hawass was a prominent part). Oh, but there was also the “looting of the storage magazine in Qantara,” during which an unknown amount of antiquities were stolen, though 288 were reportedly returned. Hawass’s blog gives a uniquely skewed perspective on Egyptian lootings over the past weeks, not to be trusted, but certainly not to be discounted either.
You know it was hilariously inevitable that someone was going to cruise the walls of Google Art Project checking out the hotties and collect them all into one place. Well, Chicago Now blogga Taleen Kelenderian just did that and she has labeled her favorites with such hipster-ific monikers as “Ginger Babe,” “Angsty Babe,” and Van Gogh gets the lamenting phrase, “unattainable babe.” This is a whole different type of cruising than the stuff that goes on at the Egyptian Museum.
The information is coming fast and furious via regarding the Egyptian Museum and the attack of protesters by pro-government authorities in Tahrir Square. So we are compiling a list of tweets to keep you up-to-date on what’s happening on the ground. Many of these tweets are from Tahrir Square, and others, like @SultanAlQassemi, are from elsewhere but from people monitoring the situation very closely. We have also added some Twitter commentary from others. Here they are unverified and unedited, and (mostly) in chronological order.
[UPDATE]: Museum has been attacked with molotov cocktails, no verified reports of the museum actually on fire, though rumors fly.
There have been many reports about damage to Egypt’s art treasures, but reports are conflicting at best, which may be because the facts are being caught up in the spin of the Egyptian government’s propaganda campaign to represent themselves as the group capable of maintaining the safety of the public … and the treasures of Egypt.
Cairo — As I write this story, I am in my room overlooking the main square of Cairo, ironically called Tahrir Square, which means Liberty in Arabic. The square is buzzing with what news agencies estimate is as much as half a million protesters, chanting together. People want to overthrow the president.
Egyptian people took to the streets demanding the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, their president for the last 30 years. The demonstrations, which started five days ago, are becoming life-altering events to those witnessing it from the ground.
UPDATE 35: Sun Jan 30, 10:29am EST: … In a shocking development, the former director of the Egyptian Museum, Wafaa el-Saddik, in an interview published on German publication Zeit Online has said that the individuals responsible for the looting at the National Museum included the institution’s own guards, the fire danger at the NDP headquarters is now over after two days, and the most shocking revelation that the Memphis Museum in Memphis, Egypt, has been completely looted.
This weekend’s Required Reading brings us up to speed on the situation of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, plus catches up on some of the things we missed while breaking the news, from movies demystifying the myth of the artist to video games histories and questions of morality and happiness.
CONTINUING COVERAGE … UPDATE 24: Sat. Jan 29 12:43pm EST: Al-Jazeera has broadcast video of the damage at the National Museum, aka Egyptian Museum. The strange thing about these images is that they demonstrate that the damage is certainly more than a few mummies, which is what Reuters reported that Zahi Hawass, chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, had said on state television.