Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Tutankhamun's last leg?

Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine El-Aref)

Although Houston has fallen under the spell of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, it is widely thought that a large number of visitors could come to the exhibition because they think this might be the last chance to see Tutankhamun's treasured collection, since the tour might soon come to an end and the objects return to Egypt.

Mark Lach, senior vice-president and creative director of Arts and Exhibitions International, one of the show's for-profit organisers, told Houston News that Egypt was allowing the objects to travel to raise funds for the restoration of monuments and artefacts and to build a $700 million museum in Cairo. Once the Grand Egyptian Museum is built, he continued, "this is probably the last time they'll travel, and they'll go to their permanent home there."

Since the Tutankhamun exhibition began its European-American tour in 2004, some critics in Egypt have questioned the legality of sending such priceless artefacts abroad, while in the host countries there have been questions as to whether the collection is appropriate for art museums.

The voices of critics in Egypt grew increasingly louder after the January Revolution, with some Egyptologists calling for no more exhibitions to be sent abroad. They claim that touring exhibitions are a threat to the objects and decrease the number of tourists who might otherwise come to Egypt to see them.

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