July 5, 2019 - 15:12 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - An Egyptian statue resembling the pharaoh Tutankhamun has been sold for £4.7 million ($5.97 million) at a London auction, despite protests from Cairo that the relic may have been stolen, CNN says.
The 11-inch statue with features reminiscent of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun was sold by Christie's, the auction house said on Thursday, July 4. The identity of the buyer was not revealed.
The sale of the artifact has been highly controversial, with Egyptian authorities demanding the auction be canceled and calling for the statute's repatriation.
In June, Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities appealed to Christie's and UNESCO to halt the sale, and asked to see documents proving the item's provenance, according to a statement from the ministry.
Officials from the Egyptian embassy in London asked the UK Foreign Office to return the statue.
"Once again, we will not be negligent or allow anybody to sell any Egyptian artifact whatsoever," a statement from Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities released in June read.
On Wednesday, the embassy said in a statement that it "regrets" the decision to go ahead with the auction.
According to Christie's, the statue is "a remarkable representation of the young king" Tutankhamun.
After becoming pharaoh at the age of 9, Tutankhamun reigned until his death at 19, from around 1333 B.C. until around 1323 B.C. His tomb, in the Valley of Kings across the Nile River from Luxor, is famous for having been discovered relatively intact, containing thousands of impressive relics and artifacts.
Christie's said the statue "is not, and has not been, the subject of an investigation," and added that Egyptian authorities had not previously expressed concern about the object, despite it being well known and publicly exhibited. The British auction house moved to assuage worries over the ownership of the statue, insisting that "while ancient objects by their nature cannot be traced over millennia, Christie's has clearly carried out extensive due diligence verifying the provenance and legal title of this object."