LETTER TO EGYPTOLOGISTS
Consider the following, please: When a professional photographer wants a good photograph of a human being or of an art object, he doesn't take only one, but several, as the lighting, angle, and other factors could make a difference. And then he will select the one or two closer to reality. This means that not all photographs show the important details and features of the subject photographed. I deduce then that no one can tell from photographs only whether an Amarna artifact is genuine or not. And if I've used in the preceding paragraph the word "charlatans" for certain cases, it is because I think it adapts well to the matter. Let's not forget that the word "charlatan" has been used before by at least one prominent Egyptologist who wrote to the Mansoors from Europe saying that there were "some real charlatans" who spoke at Wildung's Munich Congress.
With your permission, I'd like to recap some of the errors, and/or absurdities that were stated by a few who misled and/or mesmerized too many Egyptologists.
1) Sometimes in the second half of the forties, Dr. John D. Cooney examined "several times" many of the Mansoor Amarnas, both in the U.S. and in Egypt. He could not tell for certainty for two years or so, whether they were ancient or not. He declared them forgeries only after the 1949 Boston report appeared, and it is clear that he relied too much on that report. The reader will certainly remember that Dr. Cooney stated that he had "a very high opinion of the ability and integrity of Mr. William J. Young who is in my opinion the best authority in this country on technical problems connected with works of art. Since I have this opinion I am sure you will understand me when I say that it is very unwise to ignore his advice."
Furthermore, did anyone forget what Dr. Cooney stated also to Dr. Fred Stross, a prospective buyer? You've read it before, but please, do forgive me if you'll read it once more so you realize how much the Mansoor Amarnas were besmirched for numerous years. He wrote: "I have been approached by many collectors and museums at various times concerning these sculptures and I have always had to give an unfavorable opinion."
2) In 1960, Prof. Hans Wolfgang Müller stated his negative "Expert Opinion" after he examined two sculptures from the Collection ("The Truth..." p. 88). That he was prejudiced should be crystal-clear to anyone who'll read his "Expert Opinion." Needless to state that he is wrong on the three assertions he mentioned as I wrote in my book.
3) On April 5, 1971, Dr. Bernard V. Bothmer stated that the booklet by Messrs. Stross and Eisenlord "does not hold water, and a prominent chemist friend of mine went over it with the proverbial fine tooth comb and felt that scientifically it is of no value whatsoever." (Exhibit #3.) Clearly, his unnamed "prominent chemist friend" had misled him considering the authoritative statement of the most eminent Dr. Plenderleith, who wrote: "In regard to the laboratory reports submitted, it may be sufficient to state that I find the published account of Dr. Stross entirely convincing and to my mind it is not essential to carry any laboratory enquiry as to genuineness further, the case having been amply proved ("The Truth..." p. 18). And the reader will remember that "Analytical Chemistry" published the account of Dr. Stross in March 1960, displaying a Mansoor Amarna sculpture on its front cover. The article is seven pages long and if it was of no scientific value whatsoever, that respected scientific magazine would have never published it. Furthermore, the reader will also remember that Dr. Bothmer couldn't go against the opinion of his colleague, Mr. William J. Young, since both were attached for years to the same institution, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
4) In his letter of August 28, 1971 ("The Truth..." p. 99) Prof. Dr. Philippe Derchain was clearly prejudiced and absolutely wrong in all his assertions: A) He relied on the erroneous opinion of both Cooney and H.W. Müller. B) The quantity of the Mansoor Amarnas was impossible and incredible to him. C) He did not trust the opinion of two distinguished Egyptian scholars -- Iskander and Gabra -- who examined at length too many of the Mansoor Amarnas. D) The Chanoine Drioton, according to him, "who was an excellent philologist was not an archaeologist and he very often made mistakes in his expertise on authenticity." It should be noted that Vandier stated the following in 1961: "Drioton was 'un des égyptologues les plus complets de sa génération." ("The Truth..." p.102). E) Still, according to Derchain, Cooney "made no mistake." But again, it should be noted that Cooney, when he was Curator at the Brooklyn Museum, stated the following: "No one collector, dealer or museum curator can possibly form a collection without acquiring some forged pieces." (UDL p.10).