Sunday, February 1, 2015
Story of Tutankhamun mask (6): Curse of King Tut hits museum chief conservator
CAIRO: The head of the conservation department at the Egyptian Museum was demoted to a low-profile post in the wake of an inappropriate restoration of the 3,000 year-old funerary mask of King Tutankhamun using household epoxy glue.
Elham Abdelrahman, who supervised restoration work at the museum of over 180,000 artifacts, was transferred to the Royal Carriages Museum in the Citadel of Saladin, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty announced Thursday.
Damaty also referred other conservators involved in the irresponsible repair of the golden mask to investigations, and stressed that legal proceedings would follow.
Abdelrahman was replaced by Saeed Abdel Hamed, who was head of restoration department at the Coptic Museum. Images of the mask showing conspicuous globs of glue around the gap between the braided beard and the chin recently circulated on social media and drew sharp criticism.
Last week, media outlets reported the mask’s beard broke off in 2014 and was hastily glued back on by conservation staff. Moreover, the piece was reattached with epoxy, which, while sometimes used, is considered a debatable material among conservators.
Damaty said in a press conference Sunday that Tutankhamun’s mask is safe and the reaction to the incident was “overexcited and unjustified” and would have a negative impact for Egypt’s reputation and tourism sector.