Monday, September 29, 2008

More than a blink

Al Ahram Weekly (Nevine El-Aref)

With photograph.

At Luxor Temple his innovations include building the colonnaded court, a masterpiece of balance for which credit should be given to Amenhotep's architect.

In 1970, during routine excavations in the area of Amenhotep's mortuary temple on the West Bank at Luxor -- built on the flood plain little beyond the ground plan of the temple has survived -- a large limestone statue of King Amenhotep III was found. In 1972 it was moved to the Luxor Museum, and at some point during the short journey the left eye was chipped off the statue. Its whereabouts remained a mystery until 2006 when it reappeared in an exhibition shown at the Museum of Antiquities and Ludwig Collection (MALC) in Basel, Switzerland.

Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Al-Ahram Weekly that after being removed from the statue the eye was smuggled out of Egypt and fell into the hands of an American antiquities dealer called Norbert Shem. It was subsequently sold to a German antiquities dealer who lent it to MALC.

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