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PARIS.- "International Council of Museums' Committee for Egyptology expresses concern over sale of Sekhemka". Advocating for ethical conduct by museums and museum professionals, ICOM CIPEG cites the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums, and particularly its article 2.16 on the “income from disposal of collections*,” calling on the Northampton Borough Council (UK) to abandon the sale of the Sekhemka statue at Christie’s London this Thursday 10 July, 2014.
LONDON Christies Auction House - A 4,000-year-old Egyptian statue expected to raise about £6m has sold for £15.76m at Christie's of London.
Northampton Borough Council auctioned the Sekhemka limestone statue to help fund a £14m extension to Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.
However, Arts Council England had warned the council its museum could lose its accreditation status. The Egyptian ambassador to Britain said the council should have handed the statue back if it did not want it.
Sekhemka statue The limestone statue is 30in (76cm) high and it was "gifted" to Northampton in 1880
Sekhemka statue The statue of Sekhemka - who was a royal chief, judge and administrator - shows him reading a scroll
His Excellency Ahsraf Elkholy Ahsraf Elkholy, the Egyptian Ambassador, condemned the sale
Before the auction, Egyptian Ambassador Ahsraf Elkholy condemned the sale as an "an abuse to the Egyptian archaeology and the cultural property".
He said: "Our objection starts from this basic principle: how can a museum sell a piece in its collection when it should be on display to the public?"
The ambassador said: "We are concerned this piece may be moved into a private collection.
'Darkest cultural day'
"A museum should not be a store. Sekhemka belongs to Egypt and if Northampton Borough Council does not want it then it must be given back.
"It's not ethical that it will be sold for profit and also not acceptable. The council should have consulted with the Egyptian government."
Christie's said it would reveal details of the new owner later.
Protesters gathered outside Christie's before the sale said they wanted the statue to be returned to Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities.
Sue Edwards, from the Save Sekhemka Action Group, who travelled from Northampton to the auction, said: "This is the darkest cultural day in the town's history.
"The local authority has made a huge mistake but we will continue our fight.