After four years out of Egypt, a stolen and illegally smuggled mummy mask has been returned from France.
Shabaan Abdel Gawad, the general supervisor of the Antiquities Repatriation Sector of the Ministry of Antiquities, told Ahram Online that the mask dates to the New Kingdsom and is carved in wood and depicts human facial features. It was stolen in 2013 along with other artefacts from the Elephantine Antiquities Galleries in Aswan, when it was subject to looting.
The mask was discovered in an auction hall in Paris in December 2016 and Egypt succeeded in recovering it after proving legal possession.
Abdel Gawad continued that the mask was sent to the Egyptian Embassy in Paris and arrived to Cairo two days ago.
He asserted that previously the antiquities ministry was able to recover two items stolen from the Elephantine Galleries and found in Britain and Germany in March 2015.
These objects, Abdel Gawad said, are an ivory statue and a wooden ushabti figurine.
The recovered mummy mask. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Antiquities