Egypt tries to halt sale of ‘stolen’ Islamic manuscripts at UK auction house
islamic artifacts

CAIRO: The Antiquities Ministry announced it has taken “all legal measures” to stop the sale of a set of Islamic manuscripts up for sale Wednesday in the U.K.’s Sotheby auction house.

“The collection includes Islamic artifacts and manuscripts dating back to the reign of the Mamluk Sultan Qansuh Al-Ghouri who reigned from 1501 to 1516 alongside an endowment that dates back to Egypt’s Ottoman era (1517-1952.,)” Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al Damaty said in a statement Tuesday.

Last month, the ministry informed the Foreign Ministry about the incident, Damaty said, adding that the foreign ministry has taken all the legal procedures to stop the sale of the artifacts “which were looted and illegally smuggled out of Egypt in the aftermath of 2011 uprising.”

Photos of the items in question along with others are shown on Sotheby auction house’s website under the name of “Arts of the Islamic World.”

Another historically important work of art is a monumental Egyptian Mamluk copy of Qur’an dating to the 14th century, according to Sotheby website.

Egypt’s political turmoil since the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and its consequent security lapse have left the country’s cultural heritage vulnerable to looting.

During the past four years, Egypt has recovered more than 1,600 artifacts and is currently working on other cases in many European countries, Ali Ahmed, head of Antiquities Ministry’s Restored Artifacts Dept., told The Cairo Post Wednesday.

“It is impossible to provide an accurate number of the artifacts that have been stolen since the January 25 Revolution,” Ahmed said.

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