Saturday, May 13, 2006


St. Louis Says "Show Me"

News Flash: Last night, the Associated Press reported that Brent Benjamin, director of the St. Louis Art Museum, has not backed down in the face of Zahi Hawass's threat to haul his museum into an Egyptian court over the ownership of a 3,200-year-old mummy mask (see my previous post).

"Nothing that we have seen to this date supports his claim," said Benjamin, who has requested further documentation from Egypt.

No museum official wants to face the ordeal of a foreign trial, as now endured by Marion True, formerly of the Getty. But no one wants to give away objects held in public trust, based on insufficiently substantiated claims. The scenario unfolding in the "Show Me" state will be watched with intense interest by every antiquity-owning museum in this country. It remains to be seen whether Hawass is drafting a criminal indictment or Benjamin has played his cards right by calling Egypt's bluff.

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