September 25, 2019 |
An ancient gilded coffin valued at about $4 million that was acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art was returned to Egypt in a repatriation ceremony Wednesday after prosecutors determined that it had been looted from the country.
The coffin was the centerpiece of the Met’s exhibit “Nedjemankh and His Gilded Coffin,” which opened in July 2018.
“Coming as we do from all over the world, New Yorkers place a strong value on cultural heritage, and our office takes pride in our work to vigorously protect it,” Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance said at the ceremony attended by Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Hassan Shoukry.
“Returning stolen cultural treasures to their countries of origin is at the core of our mission to stop the trafficking of stolen antiquities. I am honored to repatriate this extraordinary artifact back to the people of Egypt,” he added.
The District Attorney’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit — headed by Assistant DA Matthew Bogdano – and officials from Homeland Security Investigations followed a paper trail that raised several red flags about the coffin’s provenance.