I really thought we'd seen the last of Sekhemka.
You may recall that in July last year, the exquisite statue of Sekhemka and his wife, which, for over 130 years, had been the star attraction at the Northampton Museum in the UK, was auctioned off by the local council.
Despite a massive outcry, an anonymous overseas buyer paid £15 million, or around $23 million, for the right to put Sekhemka up on the mantlepiece.
The council wanted the money to pay for an extension to the museum, but ended up paying dearly for its decision: it was banned from the Museum's Association and had a Heritage Lottery Fund bid rejected.
No doubt Sekhemka would have been looked after by his new owner, but in private hands, the fear was that it may be a generation or two before he surfaces again.
But now the British Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey, has placed a temporary export ban on the statue, saying the sale breached regulations on how museums could manage their collections, and that Sekhemka was simply too important a piece to let out of the country.
4,500 years ago, Sekhemka was a proud Inspector of the scribes of the royal court. Originally the statue would have been placed in Sekhemka’s tomb chapel as a ‘living image’ for visits from priests and members of his family to honour his memory and leave offerings to sustain him in the afterlife.
This photo, by Leon Neal, shows Sekhemka posed for eternity with his wife, Sitmerit, who kneels supportively to his right, tenderly embracing her husband's right leg.
The export licence is being reviewed in July, but the Minister seems determined that Sekhemka stays. It may be that the statue could end up being sold to a buyer within the UK - if they can find one fabulously wealthy enough.