News Brief
The famous burial mask of King Tutankhamun on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt. Photo by Mark Fischer via Flickr.

Egypt to Sue London Auction House for Selling King Tut Statue Without 'Proving Ownership'

The rare statue was sold to a secret buyer for $6 million, and now the Egyptian government has enlisted international police to track it down.

The Egyptian government has announced its plans to sue the London auction house Christie's, after it went ahead with a sale of a 3,000-year old statue of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Last month, the Egyptian government pushed for the cancellation of the sale, demanding that the auction house prove ownership of the relic first. Despite its efforts, the statue was sold for 6 million dollars to a secret buyer last week, as the auction house claimed no wrongdoing in the obtaining or selling of the artifact.

According to Al Jazeera, Egyptian authorities have enlisted Interpol—the world's largest police organization—to track down the bust. Authorities also disclosed plans to hire a British law firm to file a civil suit against the auction house.

READ: Bringing African Artifacts Home


Egypt's Minister of Antiquities, Khaled al-Enany told the BBC, that the ministry would push for the restitution of 32 other cultural relics sold by Christie's, reports BBC Africa.

In June, the Egyptian embassy warned of its plans to involve interpol in an investigation if the bust, which it believed to be stolen, was to be sold "illegally."

"If it's proven that any piece has been illegally moved out of the country, we will take legal action with the Interpol," said an embassy spokesperson. "We will never allow anyone to sell any ancient Egyptian artifact."

Christie's Auction House, however, has maintained that the bust was acquired legally.

This is only Egypt's latest effort to gain back its cultural relics. At the start of the year, a cartouche of King Amenhotep I was returned to Egypt after it was tracked down online and stopped from going on auction in London.

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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