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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 February 2019

Nailed it: Egyptian museum defends 'screwing' ancient artefact to wall

The supports used at the Sohag National Museum were an 'approved' temporary measure, says the Ministry of Antiquities

The metal supports used in the installation of the Sohag National Museum artefact. Twitter / @poet_hadi
The metal supports used in the installation of the Sohag National Museum artefact. Twitter / @poet_hadi

It looked less like an impressive collection of historic objets d’art, and more like an amateur Ikea installation. However, an Egyptian museum has been forced to defend its stationing of an ancient statue, after images of it seemingly screwed to a wall were circulated on social media.

The bust was recently installed at the Sohag National Museum, a pharaonic-focused landmark located in Upper Egypt, overlooking the Nile. Photos of the artefact affixed to a wall using two large metal brackets drew controversy online, forcing the Ministry of Antiquities to refute rumours this was a permanent solution.

Ilham Salah, head of the ministry’s museum department, told Masrawy that the “iron supports” were a temporary measure used while installing the statue on to a specially prepared base.

Salah added that the use of the supports is an approved method used by museums around the world when working with heavy artefacts. “The ‘steel pillars’ were used... due to the statue’s heavy weight of more than 250kg,” she said.

The metal supports were subsequently removed on Sunday after the installation was complete, Salah confirmed. "What sparked the controversy is that the supports looked 'inappropriate' in front of everyone," she added. "The metal is insulated from the natural environment and causes no damages.”

This isn’t the first time Sohag National Museum has made headlines; the destination finally opened its doors to visitors in August 2018, though construction first began in 1993.

Disagreements over design and a lack of funding caused the decades-long delay, with building work grinding to a halt in 1996 before resuming sporadically over the passing years. Construction recommenced again in 2016, according to Al Bawaba.

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Updated: January 15, 2019 04:09 PM

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