Thursday, April 05, 2012

Update on the Lady Ka-Nefer-Nefer (St Louis) Mask

Bizjournals (Matthew Hibbard)

With photo of the mask

A 3,200-year-old mummy mask located in gallery 130 inside the St. Louis Art Museum isn’t going anywhere soon.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry Autry made that decision earlier this week, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Missouri.

The government, represented by U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan, filed a claim in March 2011 stating that the “Mummy Mask of the Lady Ka-nefer-nefer” (1295-1186 BC) had entered the country illegally and should be retuned to the property of Eygpt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities.

According to court documents, the U.S. government alleges the mask was “packed for shipping” to Cario, Egypt in preparation for an exhibit in Tokyo. After a few trips in Egypt, the mask was declared “missing” in 1973. While the government declared the item to be out of Egyptian's possession, it was unable to provide specific facts to show the mask was indeed stolen in the first place.

Cultural Heritage Lawyer (Rick St Hilaire)

The U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, today published an order dismissing the government's’ forfeiture complaint against the Ka Nefer Nefer mummy mask.  The Egyptian artifact is located at the St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM).

The government filed a claim in March 2011 to forfeit the 19th Dynasty Egyptian mummy mask of a noblewoman from SLAM, alleging that it was stolen from Egypt.

Judge Henry Autrey brought the government’s case to a halt after concluding this past Saturday that the federal attorneys failed to specifically articulate how the mask was stolen and smuggled, or how it was brought into the United States "contrary to law."

Excerpts from the court’s nine page opinion are quoted below with citations omitted . . . .

And on Looting Matters by David Gill.

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