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Looted statue and mummy mask returned to Egypt

The director of Vienna's Art History Museum (KHM) Sabine Haag handed over on Monday a priceless Egyptian statue to the Egyptian ambassador after it was recovered from two suspected antiquity thieves earlier this year.

Looted ancient statue and mummy mask return to Egypt
The ancient ushabti figurine confiscated from two men who tried to sell it for more
 than two million euros has been returned to Egypt [Credit: Austrian Police]
The statue had featured in a trial in September in the Innsbruck regional court, after two men were charged with receiving stolen property.

The pair were offering the statue for sale at two million euros ($2.14 million), claiming that they had found it in a flea market in the Tyrolean town of Völs.

The statue, known as an ushabti, was handed over to the KHM for authentication, where they confirmed it was more than 2,500 years old.

After determining that no provenance could be found for the statue, it was decided to return it to the government of Egypt, so it was placed in the care of Egyptian ambassador Khaled Abdelrahman Abdellatif Shamaa.

Looted ancient statue and mummy mask return to Egypt
The Graeco-Roman mask was returned by a German citizen
[Credit: Ministry of Antiquites]
Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities represented by an archaeological committee formed by Dr. Mamdouh Eldamaty also received a Graeco-Roman mask that dates back to about 300 BC.

According to Ali Ahmad, General Manager of the Repatriated Antiquities Department, the mask will be put in the Egyptian Museum store to be restored before displaying it at the temporal exhibition of the repatriated antiquities to be held soon.

The Mask - Eldamaty elaborated - was in the possession of a German citizen who delivered it to the cultural bureau in Berlin.

Source: The Local & Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities [November 16, 2015]

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