Min. of Antiquities denies claims on theft of ancient icon



Wed, 08 Aug 2018 - 02:07 GMT


Wed, 08 Aug 2018 - 02:07 GMT

Cairo Coptic Museum - Wikimedia

Cairo Coptic Museum - Wikimedia

CAIRO – 8 August 2018: The Ministry of Antiquities denied the allegations made by some media outlets about the theft of an ancient icon of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary at the Coptic Museum.

Elham Salah, head of the Museums Sector in the Ministry of Antiquities, said that the mentioned icon is not archaic but reproduced, and it was put in a box in front of the Coptic Museum’s storehouse to be transferred to the museum’s educational department.

The department aims to raise archaeological awareness among children, youth and people with special needs through acquainting them with the museum’s contents.

She added that the Permanent Committee for Egyptian Antiquities has agreed on the possibility of using the non-archaic possessions, which were made as a model to help children get acquainted with the archaic replicates.

In this regard, Salah has filed a notice with the above mentioned details to Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, who transferred it to the Administrative Prosecution, as even if the icon is not archaic, it should not be left outside the museum's store.

Located in the heart of Old Cairo, the Coptic Museum is an old historic building that houses many priceless artifacts reflecting the real Egyptian heritage of Coptic Christians, Roman Catholics and a number of protestant sects.

The Coptic Museum, founded in 1908, story-tells Christian history in Egypt through its elaborate woodcarving galleries and many other treasures, including the 1,200 pieces on display that illustrate history from the Ptolemaic period.

The old, original wing of the museum is a fine piece of architecture, consisting of a series of large rooms, with ancient decorated wooden ceilings and beautiful mashrabiyas. Its walls are overlaid with fine slabs of marble, arches and tiles.

A few steps into the museum, one can see a wonderful artistic work, dating back to the seventh and eighth centuries, of three mice begging a cat to leave them in peace. This mesmerizing piece of art leaves viewers in a state of trance, where they start to imagine a life full of talking mice and cats. The work depicts animals behaving like humans, an Egyptian artistic style that dates back to 1500 BC.

Up the stairs are two large rooms with exquisite fourth to seventh century Coptic textiles and Nag' Hamady manuscripts. The large rooms also hold the oldest book of Psalms in the world, with two original wooden covers.

Additional report by Omnia Osama



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