Switzerland has returned 26 archaeological treasures to Egypt in line with its obligations under a UNESCO convention.
They were handed to the Egyptian ambassador in Bern on Wednesday, the Federal Office of Culture said in a press releaseexternal link on Wednesday.
The treasures include a statuette of the god Anubis, 12 funerary figurines known as uchabti and various amulets representing, for example, the eye of Horus (Egyptian symbol of protection, royal power, good health) and the djed (pillar-like symbol in Egyptian hieroglyphs representing stability). They date from between the 3rd millennium BC and the 4th century BC.
The treasures had been confiscated in the context of two criminal cases in cantons Lucerne and Valais, according to the press release.
Both Switzerland and Egypt are parties to the 1970 UNESCO Conventionexternal link on measures to prevent the import, export and illegal transfer of cultural property.
This restitution shows Switzerland’s commitment to fight against illicit trade in cultural property, the Federal Office of Culture said. Switzerland and Egypt signed a bilateral agreement on the import and return of cultural property in 2011.