Wed, 10 Mar 2021 - 12:45 GMT
Goddess Bastet - Min. of Tourism & Antiquities
CAIRO – 10 March 2021: In line with the efforts made by Egypt's diplomatic missions and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to repatriate Egyptian antiquities smuggled abroad, Ambassador Ahmed Abu Zaid, the Egyptian ambassador to Canada, received a bronze artifact of the Goddess Bastet belonging to the ancient Egyptian civilization, in a ceremony of a limited number in the residence of the Egyptian Ambassador, due to the safety and precautionary measures taken because of the pandemic.
This ceremony was attended by senior officials of the Ministries of Heritage and Foreign Affairs, the Canadian Border Services Agency, and correspondents from major news channels in Canada.
Ambassador Abu Zaid indicated that the recovery of the artifact came as a result of joint efforts and close cooperation between the Egyptian Embassy in Canada and the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the concerned Canadian authorities, which continued for several months to verify the soon to be repatriated artifact after it was detained by the Canadian Border Services Agency to verify the illegality of its departure from the Egyptian territories.
Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Waziry participated in the ceremony of receiving the piece through a virtual speech he gave from Luxor, in which he talked about the artifact and its historical background, thanking the Canadian government for its keenness to return the Egyptian piece as a first of its kind to repatriate artifacts from Canada, inviting Canadian tourists to visit Egypt and its archaeological sites, including the Grand Egyptian Museum, which he described as “Egypt's gift to the world in the 21st century”.
Ambassador Ahmed Abu Zaid delivered a speech during the ceremony, during which he emphasized the great interest the Egyptian state and its institutions attach to preserving its heritage and cultural history, as the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, in cooperation with Egypt's diplomatic missions abroad, succeed in returning artifacts from many countries of the world.
He praised the distinguished relations between Egypt and Canada, which contributed to the success of efforts to repatriate this important piece.
The Canadian Assistant Minister of Heritage expressed her happiness to participate in the ceremony of handing over this artifact that was proven to have been illegally moved from Egypt, confirming the Canadian government's keenness to return it to the Egyptian authorities, in compliance with the UNESCO treaty on means of prohibiting and preventing illegal trade, import, export and transfer of cultural property ownership, and the treaty is signed by the two countries.
At the end of the ceremony, the Egyptian ambassador received a certificate signed by the Canadian Minister of Heritage to return the artifact to the Egyptian government.
General Supervisor of the Repatriated Antiquities Department Shaaban Abdel-Gawad said that the cat symbolizes the goddess Bastet, the daughter of the sun god Ra, who was depicted in the drawings in the form of a woman with a cat's head.
Egyptians cherished their relationships with cats and when any of them died, they mummified them and made statues for them from various stones and metals.
A cemetery was found that contains thousands of mummified cats with brilliant precision, which indicates the importance of cats in ancient Egypt.