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As a diplomatic dispute rages between Egypt and the auction house Christie's in London over a sculpture depicting the head of the pharaoh Tutankhamun, set to be auctioned on July 4, a Live Science investigation reveals several clues as to where this sculpture comes from.
The sculpture, being auctioned off by an anonymous owner through Christie's, is made of quartzite (a type of stone). Estimates for how much the sculpture will fetch vary around $5.1 million (4 million pounds).
Origins - Live - Science - Wilhelm - Life
To discover its origins, Live Science researched Wilhelm's life, talking to surviving family and friends and gathering documents on the prince's life.
Both Viktor von Thurn und Taxis (Wilhelm's son) and Daria von Thurn und Taxis (Wilhelm's niece) told Live Science that Wilhelm never owned the sculpture. Furthermore, Daria said in an interview that Wilhelm had no interest in ancient artifacts, or art in general. He was "not a very art-interested person" she told Live Science.
Prince - Raimondo - Family - Members - Castle
Prince Raimondo is dead, but his surviving family members currently live in the castle for part of the year. A spokesperson for the family told Live Science that Raimondo and his family never owned the Tutankhamun sculpture.
Gudula Walterskirchen, a historian and journalist who knew Wilhelm well, said that Wilhelm didn't have an artifact collection. Further evidence that Wilhelm never owned the sculpture comes from Egyptologist Sylvia Schoske, who is the director of the State Museum of Egyptian Art in Munich. She studied and published an article in the book "Konzeption der Ausstellung und Katalog Heinz Herzer, Ägyptische und moderne Skulptur Aufbruch und Dauer" (Ausstellung Museum Morsbroich, 1986) about the sculpture when it was owned by an antiquities dealer named Heinz Herzer. She told Live Science that until recently she had never heard of Wilhelm owning the sculpture. She cautioned, however, that "questions concerning the provenance of objects were not...
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