Kuwaiti authorities have handed over to Egypt the lid of a rare antique coffin that had been smuggled into the Gulf state last March.
The vintage casket lid was given to the Egyptian embassy on Monday after Kuwait’s National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters completed a probe into how the relic was smuggled into the country, the director general of the government body Dr Sultan Al-Duweish told KUNA.
He emphasized that national laws strictly prohibit the looting of antiquities given the fact that such historic treasures constitute an integral part of any nation’s culture. The Kuwaiti official went on to say that the country will never be involved in the “black market trade in antiquities”, citing numerous deals sealed with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to bring that goal to fruition. Egypt’s Ambassador to Kuwait Tareq Al-Qouni thanked Kuwaiti authorities for their efforts to ensure that the precious coffin lid is returned to its place of origin.
He added that the endeavor is a testament to the amity the two Arab nations have long enjoyed, urging Kuwaiti nationals to eschew the illicit trade in cultural property that has thrived in many parts of the world.
The results of the aforementioned probe indicate that the casket lid is believed to have belonged to a sarcophagus, a decorative coffin in which ancient Egyptians buried their dead. Numerous international conventions explicity state that the smuggling of antiquities is tantamount to a crime against humanity, Al-Qahtani added, saying that Kuwaiti authorities went above and beyond to make sure that their Egyptian counterparts regain possession of the stolen relic
SOURCE : ARABTIMES