Egypt repatriates goddess Isis bronze from Switzerland

The statue was found by Swiss customs officials in 2018 and dates back to the Late Period of Egyptian history

The antique bronze statue of the goddess Isis. Photo: Egyptian Foreign Ministry
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A bronze statue of the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis has been repatriated to Egypt from Switzerland, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said.

The statue, which was smuggled out of the country illegally, dates back to the Late Period of Egypt’s history (664-332 BCE) and depicts the goddess Isis in a seated position with the baby Horus, another of ancient Egypt’s most prominent deities, on her lap.

With the return of yet another piece smuggled from Egypt, the ministry’s statement reaffirmed its commitment to continuing to reclaim more of the country’s stolen heritage.

The statue was found by Swiss customs officials in 2018 who notified Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, which sent a team of archaeologists to ascertain the origin and value of the piece.

The bronze piece, which dates back to 64-332 BCE, was smuggled out of Egypt illegally. Photo: Egyptian Foreign Ministry

The experts determined that the statue, which was not recorded on any of the ministry’s lists, must have been the product of illegal excavations which commonly take place in Egypt without the government’s knowledge.

The ministry’s statement in particular praised the efforts of the Swiss Federal Office for Cultural Affairs, with which the ministry signed an agreement in 2013, for returning the bronze.

The statue was received by Egypt’s ambassador to Switzerland, Wael Gad, on Tuesday and was expected to arrive in Cairo “very soon”.

The antiquities ministry this month said it had co-operated with US prosecutors to repatriate 16 smuggled pieces dating back to various eras of Egyptian history.

In July, the ministry said it had received more than 100 pieces from French authorities.

Updated: September 28, 2022, 3:08 PM