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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Row between China and Egypt over impostor Sphinx rekindled after replica statue returns - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Row between China and Egypt over impostor Sphinx rekindled after replica statue returns


A row over a full-size replica of the Great Sphinx in China is flaring up again after the Egyptian Government accused the Chinese owners of the statue of intellectual property theft and cultural violation.

Key Points

  • Replica Sphinx built as part of a movie set in 2014 was taken down after Egypt complained
  • It is just shy of the 73-metre long, 20-metre high original, and even has the broken nose
  • Egypt has taken the matter to UNESCO citing cultural theft

Ashraf Mohi Al-Din, the general manager of Giza Pyramid Plateau in Egypt, which manages the historic site, told media that action was underway to have the replica dismantled again.

"The Ministry of Antiquities is taking measures through UNESCO because it is a violation of Egypt's intellectual property and eventually China will remove the fake Sphinx," he told The Daily Telegraph in the UK.

The controversy dates back to 2014 when the 20-metre-high, 60-metre-long Sphinx replica was built in Hebei province as part of a film set.

It was placed in an area that was also a theme park managed by the city authorities of Shijiazhuang, according to Chinese media reports.

Egypt complained at the time to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) that the statue was an unauthorised copy of the original limestone statue which has sat near the Pyramids of Giza for more than 4,000 years.

The real Great Sphinx is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage item along with the Pyramids of Giza because of their outstanding universal value and world-wide recognition as historical and cultural monuments.

After the complaint the city authorities agreed to dismantle the replica once filming was finished, with workers removing the head by 2016, however the sphinx has now reappeared — prompting renewed outrage from Egypt.

While one of Egypt's concerns is that the impostor has a number of inaccurate features — including being 13 metres shorter than the 73-metre original — some effort to stay true to the original has been made including replicating the Great Sphinx's famously broken nose.

The replica sphinx is one of several historical landmarks that have popped up in China in recent years including copies of the Louvre, Parthenon and the Eiffel Tower.

Topics: history, popular-culture, sculpture, china

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