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Probe starts if seized statue from Pharaonic era

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The statue from Egypt?

KUWAIT CITY, March 11: A committee headed by Egyptian and Kuwaiti experts will examine the statue or the cover of a coffin that was seized at Kuwait International Airport last Friday to identify if it belongs to the Pharaonic era, reports Al-Anba daily.

A high-level source at the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters (NCCAL) said the committee to a very large extent has said the antique dates back to a Pharaonic era. The committee has also pointed out the statue or the cover of the coffin will be examined next week by another team of experts, whose members will arrive from Egypt.

The source added the antique will be sent back to Egypt if the second team comes out with the same result based on the keenness of the State of Kuwait to protect the antiquities and prevent smuggling them from any country. It was said earlier that a statue suspected to be dating back to the Pharaonic era was seized at the Kuwait International Airport.

The officers at the Air Cargo Terminal found the 170-centimetre-tall artifact when they were scanning a shipment of office furniture which came from Egypt. A Kuwaiti was present at the airport to clear the consignment with the statue that was professionally hidden inside the cargo to avoid detection and confiscation by the customs authorities.

The General Administration of Customs referred the artifact to the NCCAL to determine its origin and historical authenticity.

According to the Air Customs Director-General Walid Al-Nasser, “the statue was seized pending investigation in compliance with the ‘Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.” The Egyptian embassy contacted Dr Sultan Al-Duwaish, Director of the Antiquities and Museums Department at the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters, who confirmed that a tripartite committee was formed to examine the under his chairmanship.

The other members included two professors of ancient history and archeology at the Kuwait University Dr Said Mahfouz and Dr Ahmed Said. The Embassy then issued a statement calling on all residents of Kuwait to refrain from dealing with people who claim to possess Egyptian antiquities and would like to smuggle the same into the State of Kuwait to avoid accountability

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