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Egypt Unveils Oldest Metal Statue

January 19, 1998 GMT

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ The oldest metal statue in the world, a 4,300-year-old copper figure of an Egyptian pharaoh, is back on display after a $274,000 German-funded restoration.

The 2-foot-high statue of Pepy I was found in the 1890s buried in a temple at Edfu in southern Egypt, where it had been preserved by the surrounding sand and mud, said its restorer, Christian Eckmann of Roman-Germanic Museum in Mainz, Germany.

The statue was on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo until 1996, when the government asked Germany for help with the restoration. It was restored together with a life-sized statue of Pepy.


At the unveiling ceremony at the Egyptian Museum on Sunday, Ambassador Wolf-Dietrich Schilling said Germany had not forgotten the killing of nine German tourists in an attack at the museum last September.

A former mental patient and his brother who claimed they were defending Islam were convicted and sentenced to death for the assault.

``We need some time,″ Schilling said. ``But we Germans, like many other peoples in the world, admire the culture (of Egypt) and therefore, at a convenient and proper time, we will come back.″