Bust of Tutankhamen auctioned in London despite complaints from Egypt

The sculpted face of the young Pharaoh Tutankhamun will be auctioned Thursday in London, despite complaints from the Cairo government, which demands the cancellation of the sale and that the work is returned to Egypt.

This bust of quartzite, with more than 3,000 years old and 28.5 cm high, is valued at more than four million pounds (4.5 million euros). It represents the god Amon with the traits of Pharaoh Tutankhamen, "a way of putting the ruler on the same level as the gods," explains the auction house Christie's, who organizes the sale.

This sale angered the Egyptian government, that in June asked the auction house to cancel it. Cairo also called for "the interruption of the sale of all other Egyptian pieces at this auction planned by Christie's for July 3 and 4, stressing the importance of obtaining all the certificates of acquisition" related to these articles. "It is extremely important to establish the recent ownership (of the work) and the legality of the sale, which we have made very clear," a spokeswoman for Christie's contacted AFP.

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