CAIRO: The Ministry of Antiquities brushed off accusations that the mask of Tutankhamen was improperly restored, and said that images showing the mask with globs of glue at the top of the beard were “photoshopped,” and the mask was in “no danger,” in a news conference Saturday at the Egyptian Museum.
The Cairo Post visited the museum in the days prior to the conference, and saw visible amounts of glue on the mask, as well as scratches on it.
An anonymous source within the museum said that the mask had been improperly repaired after the beard fell off in the fall of 2014, and images of it post-restoration have gone viral on social media in the past few days, drawing ridicule of the ministry and those responsible to care for the priceless mask.
“The mask is not in danger, the material used in the restoration has been a debated matter among the experts, however it’s still being used in several situations and everyone who worked on the mask was certainly a professional,” Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said.
Damaty added that media reports referring to any change in color of the mask or damage to it were “completely untrue.”
During the Saturday news conference, Damaty produced German conservator Christian Eckmann, who said he had seen the mask for the first time Saturday morning.
“Tutankhamen’s beard fell apart in August 2014. The first attempt repairing the mask was not
successful. I don’t know which kind of epoxy was used, it’s not the best, but it was a solution,” Eckmann said.
Eckmann, who said he is working on restoring of a statue of King Pepi, said that the next step would be to “examine the undiscovered.” He added that he had found a scratch on the mask, but it was unclear whether it was caused recently, and that he would announce the results after an in-depth examination.
“There is more than one school when it comes to restoration, the substance has already been already used, the issue was in the type and the quantity, that was obviously more than a lot,” Damaty said, adding “our main goal is to declare that the statue is not really in danger and there is no problem at all.”
Egyptian Museum Director Mahmoud al-Halwagy denied in mid-November that Tutankhamen’s mask was unintentionally damaged during a restoration process, according to the Antiquities Ministry’s Facebook page.