If you’re not familiar with the infamous attempt at restoration of a 19th-century fresco by Spanish artist Elias Garcia Martinez, done by an elderly woman at the the church of Santuario de Misericordia in Borja, Spain, then you are either living under a rock or – perhaps – concerning yourself with more important things than obscure news.
Now comes a similar but no-less disturbing tale from Egypt, featuring the iconic mask of King Tutankhamun.
If you’re in charge of cleaning this famous relic, “What do you do if someone accidentally damages one of the world’s most famous artifacts under your charge at the Egyptian Museum? Do you a) report it to the nation’s antiquities ministry to ensure it’s properly repaired by specialists, or b) frantically call your husband so he can sloppily glue the broken piece back into place?” (from the Newser article).
Apparently the latter, based on the picture above, is exactly what happened. Newser continues:
“The AP notes it reached three of the Cairo museum’s conservators by phone, and they’re all giving different stories: They don’t seem to agree on when the Epoxy Incident happened, and one says the beard was loose and purposely removed. What they do agree on—and all sources spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal—is that someone on high ordered a quick fix, and that the adhesive used was more damaging than helpful. “Unfortunately, he used a very irreversible material,” one of the conservators said. “Epoxy has a very high property for attaching and is used on metal or stone, but … it wasn’t suitable for an outstanding object like Tutankhamun’s golden mask.”
For now, the lights at the display are being kept low. I can only hope that the internal politics can be overcome sufficiently to get the artifact properly repaired, which apparently now will be a massive undertaking. Sounds to me like some official in the chain needs to be mummified himself.
The Old Wolf has spoken.
They never heard of Museum Putty? Heck, Rubber Cement would have worked and been reversible on cast gold alloy.