Certain Infamy in Egyptology and Museology

"The Truth Is On The March"

Unfinished Draft
of a Letter

Men in High Places
Quotations & Statements
Letter to Egyptologists

"Common Sense to Ponder..."

In Defence of the Mansoor-Amarna Collection

"Je Cherche Un Homme"

Sequel to "Je Cherche Un Homme"

M.A. Mansoor Amarna Collection

A MUST READ New Letter

A SECOND Must Read Letter!


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"After 25 years as the director of the Museum [the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania], I have no confidence really in experts who authenticate objects on the basis of style. I find they very often disagree." (Dr. Froelich Rainey, cf. UDL., p. 21, Exhibit 26)

"The massive body of evidence speaks clearly in favor of this fine art collection, indicating that it is authentic, containing unique art pieces from the Tel-El Amarna period."

(from a letter to Edmond R. Mansoor dated January 31, 1999, by Liliana A. Cerepnalkoski, M.D., USC, L.A.)

• • • • •

"The delicacy and finesse of the techniques whereby they [the Mansoor Amarna sculptures] were wrought are incredible. This is perhaps most impressively apparent in the reliefs, but the sculptures in the full round are magnificent too." (Dr. Alfred Frankenstein, 1975, lecturer at Stanford, and Art Critic, San Francisco Chronicle, cf. TT, p. 54)

• • • • •

"I may add that, concerning the artistic point of view, these sculptures come from a workshop related to, but not identical with, the one in which the colossuses of Karnak were executed. Their stylistic pattern, advanced in the same fashion as the Karnak sculptures, is of such a full faultless execution that it cannot be, in my opinion, the work of a forger." (Dr. Etienne Drioton, cf. TT, p. 93)

• • • • •

"But I had said it to you, and I repeat it, one does not condemn that easily such an astonishing - even misleading - group without studying it seriously, without being prejudiced on viewing it for the first time, and without taking into consideration the numerous positive analyses proving its authenticity with a 99% certainty, and neglecting the evidence of dendritic markings on some of the objects that cannot be formed except through thousands of years." (Dr. Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, cf. TT, p. 93)

"This collection is very important because it is from the Amarna Period. . .this is a very difficult period to understand, we only know of two workshops, but there are many others unknown to us. . .the workshop from which comes the Mansoor collection was certainly that of a very realistic and skilled artist. . .this collection cannot be compared to any other collection. . .I don’t think we have now in America or in Europe so large a collection of objects coming from one workshop." (Dr. Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, cf. TT, p. 91)

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"There can be no doubt whatsoever about my deep conviction that the objects in your collection are authentic Amarna sculptures, even though they may be of different artistic value, the style seems to me to be typical from the Amarna period and cannot be the work of a forger." (Prof. Pierre du Bourget, from a letter translated from French, dated 21 August 1986, to Michel Mansoor)

• • • • •

"The first impression which these sculptures give you is the mastery of the artist who has been able to render with a striking realism, the features of King Akhenaten in what I may call his double personality. In fact, certain heads of the King show him frail and weak, and others show him stronger, if not energetic. Such a rendering could not be achieved but by artists contemporary to the king, and this speaks in favor of the authenticity of the pieces." (Professor Sami Gabra, from a letter translated from French, dated 23 February 1959, to Edmond R. Mansoor)

• • • • •

"When one looks closely at the King's figure in the Berlin relief [the Stroll in the Garden], one notices the anatomical mistake of his left leg, the one hidden behind the right one. The left leg is bent and from the knee down it continues in an unnatural line so that the left foot, if the upper part of the leg is naturally prolonged, would have ‘elephantine' proportions and would not fit with the lower part of the leg. The left foot is curved around the right heel making the standing position of the king very precarious and his balance impossible. Such gross mistakes in an ancient Egyptian work of art are quite puzzling and (almost) never met with.

"In the Queen's figure one may notice that her right hand has its fingers in the wrong position showing the little one touching the thumb and before the others.

"Her figure is badly assembled and very disconnected, her left leg thinner than the right one, and while the latter is shown in profile, the left one is not. The curve of the left thigh is exaggerated in respect to that of the right one, her right foot much longer than the left one.

"When one compares the figures of the Berlin relief with those of the Mansoor relief (no. 30), it is very evident that no mistakes of that kind are to be found in the latter. On the contrary, one finds a good balance of the whole composition, a perfectly natural stance of the two figures, a soft, smooth modelling of their limbs, an elegant harmony pervading the whole composition.

"The royal couple stands perfectly at ease, the two figures interlocked by the curved lines of their shoulders, arms and legs; while looking at each other, their expression links them spiritually. This feeling is not at all apparent in the Berlin relief where the King seems to fall backward and looks with surprise (?) at the Queen awkwardly standing before him.

"If the ‘supposed' forger of the Mansoor reliefs got his inspiration from that of Berlin as Prof. Müller asserts, he has certainly improved on it a great deal and the Berlin work seems to be of an inferior quality than its ‘supposed' copies." (Prof. Andreina Leanza Becker-Colonna, cf. TT, p. 79)

• • • • •

"However, as you know it, [ancient] Egyptians worked from ‘model textbooks’ that could create monuments looking alike." (Prof. Max Guilmot, cf. TT, p. 77)

• • • • •

"Art and science must co-exist in today's museum. Science can derive essential scholarly data from mute objects and conserve or restore priceless works. The art of the forger is so sophisticated that only the most rigorous application of science can prove him false. (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, cf. TT, p. 26)

• • • • •

"We should use stylistic differences at times to prove the independent creative spirit of the artist rather than as criteria against its authenticity." (Dr. Cornelius Vermeule, cf. TT, p. 148)

• • • • •

"Detecting forgeries on the basis of style and technique is a really difficult and tricky business, and many great scholars have been deceived, even though they have devoted their lives to the study of ancient art." (Prof. Keith Seele, cf. TT, p. 58)

• • • • •

"But no scholar should ever call a real work of art a forgery. That is a crime." (Dr. Dietrich von Bothmer, cf. TT, p. 149)

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". . .It is sad to see the arts and the sciences divided. It is demoralizing for 20th-century supporters of the arts to turn their backs on the very same sciences they turn to when in need. It is downright ludicrous for anyone to imply in this day and age that it is easier to imitate or forge physico-chemical composition than it is to copy artistic style. . .

". . .I hope that cooler, less vain heads will prevail to bring about the ‘rapprochement’ and mutual respect between the archaeological arts and the sciences. The Mansoor collection controversy may very well prove to be the catalyst for this belated interaction." (Dr. Michael N. Bishara, cf. Exhibit 15, TT, p. 117B).

• • • • •

". . .One of the most extraordinary ‘trouvailles' of our time. The Mansoor-Amarna Collection is too important for its historical and artistic value in the field of Egyptology to be dismissed that easily and irresponsibly with few superficial, vague statements uttered by people, some of whom have not even seen the Collection at all. . .!" (Dr. Andreina Leanza Becker-Colonna, cf. TT, p. 107)

• • • • •

". . .But this does not change the fact that the evidence, in one case as in the other, is strongly on the side of science. And it should be very convincing to any intelligent, open-minded individual who takes the trouble to read the reports.

". . .Forgeries because precedents don’t exist or because they are too well known? One can hardly have it both ways.

"Another point to be made in this connection, is that, again, under c), the famous bas-relief of Smenkhkara and his queen in the Egyptian Museum in Berlin, displays what surely would have been called ‘blunders' had they been exhibited by any of the Mansoor pieces: the strangely inconsistent left leg and the exaggerated necks, particularly of the queen are cases in point. It might be noted that the Mansoor ‘copy' (which incidentally is quite different from the Berlin piece) does not show these anomalies. With regard to the other example, the mural fragment of the ‘two princesses' at the Ashmolean, beautiful as it is, displays startling features, too: the highly elongated necks of both figures, and the spaghetti-like left lower arm of the squatting princess (forerunners of Expressionism?). The corresponding reliefs of the Mansoor group show more realistic, truly engaging proportions. Several comments suggest themselves: these are the only reliefs of this scene known to exist - the ‘forger' exercised his imagination by ‘correcting' the anatomical shortcomings, supplying missing features and details, such as showing the fingers of the seated princess resting on the shoulders of the crouching figure, which are in a broken area of the Ashmolean piece. At the same time these pieces are suspect because they are (exact?) copies of the well-known pieces. Here, too, you can hardly have it both ways." (Dr. Fred Stross, cf. TT, p. 86)

• • • • •

"The matter is far from closed, and will never be closed until justice is done to this collection. Twenty-five years of refusal to reexamine the pieces by Boston and New York can only lead me to believe that they doubt their own position and are afraid to reexamine these sculptures." (Mrs. Mitzi S. Briggs, 1975, cf. TT, p. 72)

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"I can only reach the conclusion that if the Berlin and Kairo pieces are genuine, which could be solely due to different workmanship by different artists, those pieces of the Mansoor Collection are also genuine." (Prof. Dr. Reiner R. R. Protsch, cf. TT, p. 21)

• • • • •

"I am astonished that people still have doubts about the authenticity of your collection." (Prof. Dr. R. Protsch von Zieten, from a letter to Edmond R. Mansoor, dated 9th September 1993)

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"The report of Mr. Young of the Boston Museum [of Fine Arts] is mostly the expression of an opinion based on very weak evidence to say the least." (Prof. Robert E. Arnal, cf. TT, p. 11)

• • • • •

"In ‘Je Cherche un Homme,’ every scientist has criticized Mr. Young’s report. Has Mr. Young ever defended his position or has he ever tried to challenge the other scientists who made the following statements regarding his report?"

....."His comments are couched in language that in places is meaningless to a scientist." (Dr. Francis J. Turner)

....."The data set out in the sole report. . .are, in my opinion, imprecisely expressed and scientifically unsound in a number of respects." (Dr. C. Osborne Hutton)

....."The fluorescence tests offer nothing to indicate the pieces are not old, nor does the author state just what is the ‘false condition’ he refers to. . .yet he somehow concludes that the pieces are ‘of fairly modern origin.’" (Dr. Robert R. Compton)

....."I do not find the report of Mr. Young very convincing. For many of his assertions he has supplied no satisfactory evidence." (Professor Eliot Blackwelder)

....."His report is chiefly impressive for its lack of reasoned conclusions. . .cannot be given unqualified acceptance by anyone experienced in the technique." (Dr. Paul L. Kirk)

....."It is very clear that Mr. Young: did not fully understand the tool with which he was working, i.e., the ultra-violet lamp. . .did not properly and correctly interpret such results. . .weak, subjective, and without meaning as set in its present form. . .erroneous conclusions. . .inadequate experience and understanding. . .complete inability to interpret the results. . .indicative of lack of carefulness an otherwise competent scientist would rely upon. . .to be completely disregarded in any serious appraisal." (Dr. Jack De Ment)

And THIS is the scientist whom Mr. Cooney relied upon when he wrote: ". . .Mr. William J. Young who is in my opinion the best authority in this country on technical problems connected with works of art." (Dr. John Ragusa, cf. TT, p. 116, Exhibit 16, 16A, 16B).

• • • • •

"If they [the Mansoor Amarna sculptures] are genuine, I am not prepared to accept that they are great works of ancient Egyptian art." (Dr. Cyril Aldred, cf. TT., p. 65.)

Question from ERM, the writer: Doesn’t this, in effect, mean that the Mansoor Amarna sculptures could be genuine?

• • • • •

"The violet ray examination, valuable in the examination of many types of objects, is seldom of any use when applied to Egyptian objects. . .

"Of all Egyptian objects examined under violet ray in recent years, this statue of Djhuty is the sole piece in which forgery was revealed by this instrument." (Dr. John D. Cooney, 1950, cf. UDL, p. 10)

[Note from ERM: Nine Egyptian objects from the Mansoor Amarna Collection were examined under ultraviolet ray from 1947 to 1949 by the "scientist" of the BMFA, Mr. William J. Young, and declared to be of "fairly modern origin."

• • • • •

"No one collector, dealer or museum curator can possibly form a collection without acquiring some forged pieces." (Dr. John D. Cooney, cf. UDL, p. 10)

Question from ERM: Wasn’t Dr. John D. Cooney a museum curator?"

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"The occasion presented itself where it was possible to closely examine, for comparative reasons, other objects from Tell-el-Amarna, including the material of the British Museum and the fresco painting of Akhenaten’s daughters at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford." (Mr. William J. Young, cf. "Je Cherche un Homme, p. 28, or UDL, p. 6)

Note from ERM: Mr. Young’s previous statement has got to be the most ridiculous and the most absurd statement ever made by a "scientist" of any educational institution. To my mind, it denotes his total incompetence in the work he was supposed to perform and in which he is supposed to be an expert. That’s the last straw! Pray tell, how on earth can anyone compare the patina of a painted object with that of one non-painted? And how "closely" did Mr. Young examine the fresco painting of Akhenaten’s daughters at the Ashmolean Museum? And did he also examine it under ultraviolet rays? And/or perhaps under a binocular microscope using a power of 40X as he used on the Mansoor non-painted sculptures? Or maybe "for petrographic study," as done on the Mansoor non-painted artifacts, he took some samples from the Ashmolean painting, "mounted and ground" them "down to a thickness of .03 mm, in order that light might be transmitted through the samples?" Wow! What nonsense! No wonder Mr. Young’s report was highly criticized by so many eminent scientists!

• • • • •

"In concluding this descriptive summary presentation of the Mansoor El-Amarna Collection, it is hoped that it has been made clear that, according to the author’s belief, all the pieces exhibited are genuine, original, authentic and ancient. This statement is necessary because, for approximately twenty-five years, a cloud has been hanging over these remarkable works of art of one of the greatest periods of ancient Egypt. The cloud unfortunately originated in this country because of an ill interpretation of a ‘scientific’ report.

"...In the controversy over the Mansoor Collection, after having carefully studied the documentation, the author has found a great deal of superficial, unsubstantial, invalid statements made by people who have briefly looked at only a few pieces, or who have not even examined a single piece of the Collection, or who have issued their definitive and all-sweeping judgements based only on photographs, or who have heard about the Collection from other people.

"A positive, critical declaration, honest and worthy of professional consideration, can be given by a critic of art only after having thoroughly examined all the pieces in question. This I have done.

"The Collection is exhibited, the scientific and aesthetic documentation printed. Any scholar with professional knowledge, unbiased approach, and ethical behavior who wishes to come forth with sound arguments well supported scientifically and/or stylistically is welcome.

"Professional and ethical art criticism is not based on gossip nor random talk and it is, therefore, high time that such a beautiful collection of fine Egyptian art comes out of the cloud cast on it by the unexplainable behavior of a handful of historians or so-called stylists who have, so far, neither followed the ethical and scholarly procedures of studying the whole Collection nor offered detailed, sound evidence on which they should have based their statements." (Professor Andreina Leanza Becker-Colonna, S.F. State, 1975, Exhibit Catalog, pp. 39 and 41)

• • • • •

"If you happen to pass at this museum, I could show you the original which always is the most instructive procedure never replacing fully written words and photographies." (Dr. Peter Munro, Exhibit 22A, or UDL, page 12)

• • • • •

"[Dietrich Wildung] calls himself an ‘intellectual adventurer,’ and Ancient Egypt with all its open questions about history, religion and art was, and still is, for him the great challenge." (From The Akhetaten Sun, the newsletter of the Amarna Research Foundation, Volume 3, No. 2, 1998, p. 12)

Note from ERM: If "Ancient Egypt with all its open questions about history, religion and art was, and still is," for Prof. Wildung, "the great challenge," just why didn’t he accept the challenge to "study at his convenience" the Mansoor Amarna Collection when he was invited to by Prof. Andreina Colonna? (cf. ID, p. 23)

• • • • •

"The late Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter once wrote, ‘If man can be allowed to determine for himself what is the law, every man can. That means first chaos, then tyranny. Legal process is an essential part of the democratic process.’

"This book [The Scandal of the Century] is a critical analysis of the history of the numerous attempts to discredit the authenticity of the Mansoor Collection of the El-Amarna artifacts by people in museum circles who are intellectually dishonest. For example, in 1991, the Director of the Agyptisches Museum in Berlin, one Dr. Dietrich Wildung, wrote a letter to Dr. Richard L. Trapp, of San Francisco State University, condemning the collection as a fraud.

"This appalling charge typifies the intellectual dishonesty. You see, Wildung has never seen or studied the individual pieces of the collection, but instead relies on two discredited reports from someone named William J. young, of the Boston Museum, and another named Dr. H. W. Muller of the University of Munich.

". . .Legal process commands that the Mansoor Amarna Collection have a fair, impartial and just hearing based on facts that are supported by scientific evidence and physical study of each piece of this collection.

"Hopefully, this book [The Scandal. . .] will vindicate the collection and the Mansoor family and put to rest the unfounded and biased claims of pseudo-Egyptologists." (Judge George Xanthos, Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of Los Angeles, from the preface of The Scandal of the Century by Christine Mansoor,

"Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late." (Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter)

• • • • •

"First of all, about Mr. Young of the Boston Museum: I agree with Professor Turner that he is not competent in fields that are essential to evaluate antiquities. I volunteered to analyze the Boston Museum’s relief, allegedly part of the Ludovici relief in Rome, by isotopic methods. The Italians say the Boston piece is a forgery, but Young did a variety of meaningless tests to demonstrate that it was authentic. needless to say, Mr. Young refused to send me any material to analyze, adding that he had proven authenticity beyond any doubt.

"Young’s statement on dendrites is pure nonsense (as are many of his other statements). His ideas on UV examination as an indication of age falls in the same category...." (Prof. Norman Herz, Director-Programs, Center for Archaeological Sciences at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia)

• • • • •

"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." (Cyril Aldred, Akhenaten and Nefertiti, 1973, p. 49).

Note from ERM: The above sentence is enough proof that during the Amarna period, "craftsmen" perfected their works by "constant copying."

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