A German couple in possession of a stolen relief smuggled out of the country last century say that they want to return the artefact to Egypt.
On Monday, the couple sent an official letter to Egypt's cultural attache in Germany, Mamdouh El-Damati, informing him that they wish to give back the relief after discovering that it was stolen from the wall of the 13th dynasty king Sobekhotep's tomb in Luxor and illegally smuggled out of the country.
Egypt's Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim told Ahram Online that the relief had been spotted by curators at Bonn University Museum during preparations for a temporary exhibition to be held there.
The items on display were selected from private collectors and the relief in question was borrowed from the German couple.
The relief is 30 cm tall and 40 cm large and depicts three rows of offering holders walking forwards.
Ibrahim told Ahram Online that the piece will be put on display for three months in the temporary exhibition in Bonn and will then be handed over to Egypt’s embassy in Germany before before being finally returned home.
"I am very happy with the German couple's attitude, which will encourage other antiquities collectors to return any stolen objects," Ibrahim told Ahram Online, adding that the couple will be honoured in a gala ceremony at the Egyptian embassy in Germany for their appreciation of Egypt and its ancient heritage.