CAIRO: According to his late mother’s will, a German national voluntarily returned an ancient Egyptian Ushabti funerary statuette, which will be displayed at the Egyptian Museum, head of the Antiquities Ministry’s Restored Artifacts Department Ali Ahmed told The Cairo Post Wednesday.
According to Ahmed, the German man, currently living in South Africa, called officials at the Egyptian Embassy in South Africa earlier this month expressing his wish to fulfill his mother’s will and hand over the figurine to the Egyptian authorities.
The German individual told the embassy that his mother, who died in 2012, had purchased the statuette from an antiquity trader in the west bank of Luxor during a trip to Egypt in 1995.
“The 12 centimeter-high statuette is in a good state of preservation with its original outstanding blue and green colors. It has been examined by a committee of archaeologists who confirmed its authenticity,” said Ahmed.
It will be on display at the restored artifacts section at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, he added.
Ushabti figures, from an ancient Egyptian term meaning ‘to answer,’ were placed inside tombs, pyramids and graves for the purpose of serving the pharaoh in the afterlife, Dean of Minya University’s Faculty of Tourism and Hotels archaeologist Sherif el-Sabban told The Cairo Post Thursday.
“During the New Kingdom Period, [1580 B.C.-1080B.C.], 365 statuettes were placed inside each tomb in order to ensure the pharaoh’s afterlife demands would be met all through the year. Ushabtis are usually carved with inscriptions asserting their readiness to serve the deceased,” said Sabban.