Cairo: Egyptian authorities are moving to stop a planned auction of Pharaonic objects, including a statue head of the famous King Tutankhamen, in London next month.

The Ministry of Antiquities said it had asked the Christie’s auction house and Unesco to stop the July 4 sale.

In a statement late on Saturday, the Egyptian foreign ministry said that it had demanded the auction house provide documents proving the statue’s ownership, and that it reached out to British authorities and the UN culture and education agency “to stop the sale procedures” for it and other Egyptian objects included in the lot.

He told private satellite television MBC Masr that the Egyptian authorities are also seeking the return of the item along with other pieces planned to go under the hammer.

According to Christie’s, the 28.5cm-long statute is carved in quartzite, showing the boy king in the shape of ancient Egyptian deity Amun. King Tut ruled Egypt from 1332 to 1323 BC. His tomb was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter in Luxor.

In recent years, Egypt has successfully restored several artefacts from different parts of the world, as the country is seeking to use its wealth of antiquities to revive its vital tourism industry.