Meanwhile, Mr. Hawass’s long-running campaign to repatriate Egyptian antiquities is making legal waves in the United States. The Saint Louis Art Museum filed suit this week in an effort to prevent the United States attorney’s office in St. Louis from seizing a 3,200-year-old funerary mask that Mr. Hawass has claimed was stolen from Egypt, the blog Looting Matters reported. In its suit, the museum said that the American government had not gathered sufficient evidence that the mask was stolen, and that the statute of limitations had run out on the government’s right to seize the mask. The mask was discovered in Saqqara in 1952 by an Egyptian excavator, and Mr. Hawass has said that it was stolen sometime after 1959, when it was registered as stored at Saqqara. The Saint Louis Art Museum bought the mask in 1998, for about $500,000, from Phoenix Ancient Art, an antiquities dealership owned by the brothers Hicham and Ali Aboutaam. Since that time, Hicham Aboutaam has been convicted in New York of falsifying customs documents (for another object), and an Egyptian court has convicted Ali Aboutaam in absentia of smuggling and sentenced him to 15 years in prison. According to the museum’s complaint, the assistant attorneys from the United States attorney’s office in St. Louis held a meeting about the mask on Jan. 13, in which they announced their intention to seize it.