The story since the bomb blast at Cairo’s Museum of Islamic Art in January has brought twists worthy of a detective novel. Amid reports that social unrest and economic crisis in Egypt may be fuelling the black market in cultural artefacts, photographs have emerged showing that a large wooden frieze has been stripped from the interior of the 1304 Mausoleum of Salar and Sanjar, in Saliba Street, old Cairo.
Doris Behrens-Abouseif, an author and academic, who was given the photographs by activists, said: “The whole frieze has gone. This is a disaster after 700 years. Under everybody’s eyes, it has been removed. It must have been very, very recently.”
TEXT WRITTEN BY TIM COWELL FOR THE ARTS NEWSPAPER