Eye of Amenhotep III
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Date: New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Amenhotep III (ca. 1390-1352 BC)
Material: Quartzite
Provenance: Kom el-Heitan, Memorial Temple of Amenhotep III
Details: Eye from a colossal statue of Amenhotep III
Excavated: Excavated at Kom el-Hetan in Luxor in 1970 by the Swiss Institute

Status: Returned to Egypt in October 2008

In 1970, the Swiss mission working at the site of the memorial temple of Amenhotep III on the West Bank at Luxor discovered a colossal quartzite statue of the king. Around 1973, the statue was badly damaged by fire. Sometime after this, the left eye was smuggled out of Egypt. It was sold by the Galerie Nefer to Norbert Schimmel, then by Schimmel through Sotheby’s to a German collector. The private collector loaned the eye to the Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig for display, where it was noticed by Egyptologist Hourig Sourouzian, who identified it and brought it to the attention of the SCA. The director of the Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig, Peter Blome, brokered its voluntary return to Egypt.

A formal Donation Agreement was finalized and signed in September of 2008, and Dr. Abdel-Hamid Maarouf traveled to Switzerland in October, 2008 to bring back the Eye. The piece was received by the Egyptian Museum on October 22, 2008 by Ahmed Abdel Amer.

The Mask of Ka-nefer-nefer, stolen from Egypt and currently in the possession of the St. Louis Museum of Art (St. Louis Museum of Art)

Colossal eye of Amenhotep III (Basel Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig)