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Egypt unveils treasured royal statue

THE unveiling of one of Egypt's eight national treasures at Expo - a large statue of the Pharaoh Amenhotep IV - was a highlight of the country's official pavilion opening last night.

"We rarely send these pieces out of Egypt. We got the best ones for China this time because it is the largest Expo ever organized," Egypt's Commissioner General Sherif A. Salem said.

"Each has a value which represents a part of Egyptian civilization," he added.

The ceremony was also to involve unveiling of the Mask of Sheshonq II, completing the full set of eight antiquities on display at the pavilion from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The other six have been on display since the pavilion opened on May 5.

The last two antiquities had only arrived in Shanghai a day before the opening, Salem added. But the box carrying the mask was broken after it arrived, causing a delay in unveiling it.

Salem said it would be ready for display today.

He said his favorite of the collection was the colossal statue of Amenhotep IV which is dated from around 1353-1336 BC. Salem liked the statue because he considered the pharaoh a great one.

Amenhotep IV was father of the more famous pharaoh Tutankhamun, or King Tut.

The Mask of Sheshonq II belonged to the 22nd dynasty Egyptian king whose tomb was the only one of the dynasty not plundered by tomb robbers.

The eight pieces have been insured for US$400,000, according to Alain Tsai, project manager of the pavilion.


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