An ancient Egyptian Ushabti statue dating back over 3,800 years has been recovered in London after it went missing from the storage room of a museum in Aswan in 2013.
The Antiquities Ministry issued a statement on Sunday announcing that the statue was handed over to the Egyptian Embassy in London after a trustee from the British Museum discovered it in the possession of an English citizen.
The ancient artifact was reportedly handed over voluntarily after the individual learned that it had been stolen and smuggled out of Egypt years earlier. It is reportedly in the process of being repatriated to Egypt.
The statement adds that this 16.5 centimeter tall Ushabti statue, an ancient Egyptian funerary figurine, is carved from wood and gilded in golden inscriptions. It was unearthed by Spanish archaeologists at the Qubbet al-Hawa Necropolis in Aswan, and dates back to the time of ancient Egypt’s Middle Kingdom, around the reign of the 12th Dynasty (Circa 1990 BC – 1775 BC).
Ushabti statues, also known as Shabtis, were small figurines that were placed in tombs, intended to function as servants or assistants to the deceased in the afterlife.
Several such statuettes have been recovered from abroad in recent years. In October 2014, a German man residing in South Africa voluntarily handed Ushabti statue in his possession over to Egyptian diplomats. In November 2014, French authorities agreed to repatriate hundreds of stolen Egyptian artifacts, including scores of Ushabtis.
To the dismay of Egyptian antiquities authorities, several other Ushabtis were sold in October 2016 at Christie’s Auction House in New York City.
The ministry’s statement notes that Egypt has seen recent success in the recovery of ancient artifacts from abroad mentioning that over the past month, Egyptian diplomats and authorities have recovered seven such artifacts from America, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.