Experts appointed by Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry confirmed Wednesday that a miniature statuette recently recovered from Mexico is a genuine ancient Egyptian artifact dating back nearly 3,300 years.
An Ushabati figurine was discovered by chance last month in an apartment in Mexico City, a statement by the Ministry reported. The new owner of the apartment took it to the Egyptian Embassy, from where it was transported to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and analyzed.
The statuette dates back to Ancient Egypt’s 19th Dynasty (Circa 1,292 BC to 1,187 BC), according to a Ministry-appointed archaeological committee, which reportedly used light microscopes, x-ray fluorescence and ultraviolet spectroscopy to determine its age.
The miniature statue, which is only a few centimeters tall, is currently being restored at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Made of wood, it is engraved with hieroglyphic texts bearing the name “Ra-Nes,” along with symbols indicating he was an honest man.
The statue was reportedly illegally excavated and smuggled out of Egypt, although it is not clear when this happened.
Ushabati statuettes, usually in the form of a mummy, were used in Ancient Egypt as funerary figurines. They were buried in tombs with their owners to help them with manual labor in the afterlife.
In October 2014, a German man residing in South Africa also voluntarily handed an Ushabati statuette, which his mother had reportedly purchased in Luxor, to Egyptian diplomats.