Egypt is attempting to halt the sale of an ancient statue at Christie's auction house in London over concerns that it may have been stolen, CNN reports.
The 11-inch statue with features reminiscent of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun is set to lead a London auction on July 4, according to Christie's. Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities has appealed to Christie's and UNESCO to halt the sale, and requested to see documents proving its provenance, according to a statement from the ministry.
Officials from the Egyptian embassy in London asked the UK Foreign Office to return the statue, as well as calling for the sale of other Egyptian artifacts at the planned auction to be halted.
"Once again, we will not be negligent or allow anybody to sell any Egyptian artifact whatsoever," reads the statement.
However Christie's has moved to assuage worries over the ownership of the statue.
"Ancient objects by their nature cannot be traced over millennia," the auction house in a statement sent to CNN. "It is hugely important to establish recent ownership and legal right to sell which we have clearly done."
In a press release on the auction, Christie's revealed the statue was acquired from Munich-based dealer Heinz Herzer in 1985, and was previously owned by Joseph Messina and Prinz Wilhelm von Thurn und Taxis.
"We would not offer for sale any object where there was concern over ownership or export," continued the statement.
"Christie's strictly adheres to bilateral treaties and international laws with respect to cultural property and patrimony."