Certain Infamy in Egyptology and Museology

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5) An article appeared in ARTnews, Summer 1978 ("The Truth..." p. 117). To my mind, its writer was biased since she consulted and interviewed only few unnamed dissidents of the Collection, and none of its supporters. In my story, I couldn't mention all what was stated in the extremely long and negative article, and should you get its copy, you'll read one particularly absurd statement. I quote from ARTnews, p. 55: "And in one of the specimens [said one unnamed Egyptologist about the Mansoor relief similar to the Ashmolean painting of the Two Princesses], the artist made a mistake. One sister is supposed to be chucking the other under the chin, but the artist misjudged the position of the hand, so that the gesture makes no sense. The hand is floating in front of the chin." In the two similar reliefs of the Mansoor Collection, the hand of that sister has a natural but different position than the "spaghetti-like hand in the Ashmolean beautiful painting -- which is in an impossible position. Undoubtedly, the unnamed Egyptologist who made that statement is the one who "made a mistake." He is also the one who misjudged the position of the hand, as he doesn't realize that artists would see a subject with different eyes, and more importantly, all artworks in ancient Egypt were hand-made and cannot, and will not be identical. (Please, be kind enough to excuse me if I made this remark, but it really seems to me that a few do not realize that.) The problem is that some of the Mansoor sculptures are almost identical to some known artifacts in museums. And others are a little different. In both cases, they'll be forgeries in a few inexperienced minds.

When studying an Amarna artifact, one should always keep in mind the statement by Cyril Aldred in his "Akhenaten and Nefertiti," 1973, Brooklyn Museum, p. 49. He wrote:

"The craftsmen employed on the many undertakings, both royal and private, had to work in haste, and it was natural that they should prefer subjects that had been in stock from earlier years of the reign and that they had perfected by constant copying."

Edgard, my younger brother, told me the other day over the telephone about a "hand floating" in a "gesture making no sense." For this I refer the kind reader to K. Michalowski's "Art of Ancient Egypt," Abrams, Editions d'Art Lucien Mazenod, Paris, 1968. On page 373, in the top photograph #271 of a "Relief From the Sarcophagus of Aashayt (Dyn. XI)," a man is shown following a cow with his right hand "floating" towards the cow's tail or rear end. And in the same relief, at the end of the right-hand side, part of a man is shown touching another cow's tail or rear end. In a most humble opinion, the "floating" right hand of the first man is what could be called a "gesture making no sense." But then, if that relief was broken in two pieces in the middle, and the pieces found in two different places, wouldn't one half, in the mind of a few who would mislead many others, be considered spurious because the position of the hands are not identical?

With your kind permission, I'd like to tell you what Edgard mentioned to me a few times, and I do this most respectfully and with utmost humility: "On a souvent besoin d'un plus petit que soi." I want to add quickly that Edgard directs this to me when he is right and I am wrong.

6) In July 1983, an article about "The Mansur Collection" appeared in "Zeitung zur Sonderausstellung," and its translation is inserted in "In Defence of the Mansoor-Amarna Collection" (Gianfranco Nolli and Andreina Leanza Becker-Colonna 1986). This booklet was distributed graciously in 1986 to many Egyptologists and museums displaying an Egyptian Collection. To my mind, that 1983 German article is fraught with inaccuracies, nonsense and absurdities, and you should read it and also read "In Defence..." to learn how harmful it was, and still is for the Collection, and the kind of damage it caused in the minds of Egyptologists who read it.

In "In Defence...," Nolli and Colonna have defended the Mansoor Collection scholarly and superbly, and they noted in it the errors and inaccuracies of the German article. Need a copy of that booklet? Gladly! I'll mail a complimentary copy (free of any charge) to the first 25 American Egyptologists, and will airmail also a complimentary copy to the first 25 foreign Egyptologists who would write to me, directly, to my home address at 3288 Sawtooth Court, Thousand Oaks, California 91362. Sorry, no phone, fax or e-mail request will be taken into consideration. When requesting a copy of "In Defence...," please print your name, title and position, as well as the complete address of the Institution you are attached to, as I shall only mail it in care of a Museum or a University. This offer is only made to Egyptologists and valid through October 15, 1999. And only one copy per Institution, please.

7) On 14.5.85, Prof. Dr. Dietrich Wildung wrote a letter to Prof. Andreina Colonna refusing to let her present a paper, and to speak about sculptures from the Mansoor Collection in the Fourth International Congress of Egyptology. On September 28, 1985, Prof. Colonna sent him a registered letter in response to his answer of 14.5.85, and he never acknowledged her answer. (Facsimiles of Wildung's and Colonna's letters are published in "In Defence...," p. 17 and p. 20). Those of you who haven't read these letters should definitely do so as they are important to this dissertation and to Egyptology.

On August 1993, I wrote an Open Letter to Prof. Wildung which I printed in "The Truth...," p. 110. He never answered it. On September 19, 1997 I sent him another letter (Exhibit #24) registered to his three Berlin addresses known to me. I informed him that I was going to write more about the Collection, and that I was "going public" in the near future. On November 11, 1997 he replied (Exhibit #24D) to my September 19 letter, but answered none of the questions I asked for. I quote him from his reply: "I intend to present the results of my researches in the near future." Supposedly, he was going to evaluate the Mansoor Amarnas "as works of art" and compare them to the "'standard' Amarna objects published in several monographs in the twenties of this century." He ended his letter by saying: "I shall keep you informed about the progress of this publication." Needless to add that I have received nothing from him since that letter of November 11. I think he is stalling me.



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