Category: history

Diana in Egypt

Diana, Princess of Wales in the Tomb of Seti I, Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. May 14, 1992

Tomb of Ramesses VI

Inside the Tomb of Ramesses VI (KV9), Valley of the Kings, West Thebes.

Luxor Temple 

The Great Court of Ramesses II with the Colonnade of Amenhotep III located behind statue of Ramesses II in the Luxor Temple.

Entrance to the Temple of Luxor

The Avenue of the Sphinxes towards the ancient Egyptian Colossi at the entrance to Court of Ramesses II, Luxor Temple.

The modern town of Luxor is the site of the famous city of Thebes, the City of a Hundred Gates. Some of the stone temples have survived. The most beautiful of these is the temple of Luxor. 

The temple was built by Amenhotep III (1391-53 BC) but completed by Tutankhamun (1332-23 BC) and Horemheb (1319-1292 BC) and then added to by Ramesses II (1279-13 BC). Toward the rear of the temple there is a granite shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great (332-305 BC). The temple has been in almost continuous use as a place of worship right up to the present day. 

Temple of Horus

Hieroglyphs on the walls of the Temple of Horus in Edfu.

Photo:

Theerawat Kaiphanlert

Basin with a boat from the tomb of Tutankhamun

It is considered one of the most beautiful pieces of the collection of king Tutankhamun. It was found in the annex of his tomb.

The purpose of this artifact is not clear, but it was either an unguent container or a perfume holder or most probably it was a centerpiece used during celebrations and ceremonies for decoration purposes because when Howard Carter found it, it was covered with garlands of flowers. It is thought that this basin might have been filled with water to complete the image of the decorative centerpiece.

At the prow a naked girl with a curly wig, wearing earrings, armlets and bracelets, is represented seated and holding in her hand a blue lotus. · At the stern, there is a dwarf standing naked and he is wearing a wig similar to the one worn by the girl. He is also wearing armlets and bracelets. When this piece was first discovered, he was holding a pole in his hand and most probably he was the helmsman who directed the boat.

Tomb of Tutankhamun (KV62).

Valley of the Kings, West Thebes. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo.

Bust of Nefertiti

It is one of the most copied works of ancient Egypt. Owing to the work, Nefertiti has become one of the most famous women of the ancient world, and an icon of feminine beauty.

ِِAnimals in ancient Egypt 

In ancient Egypt, animals were symbolic of human virtues. The frog symbolizes fertility and safe childbirth, while the monkey represents status and wealth. A hedgehog stands for resurrection.

Photo:

Jeon Han

Hedgehog figurine 

Blue-green faience hedgehog with black spots on elliptical base, both left legs slightly advanced and modeled freely in the round. Back is scored in grid pattern and bumpy to simulate quills.

Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty – early 13th Dynasty, ca. 1938-1700 BC. Now in the Brooklyn Museum.

A close view of the gold funerary mask of the pharaoh Tutankhamun

Probably the most famous artifact in the world, the 11 kg death mask of pharaoh Tutankhamun was restored in 2015. The work is more than just the careful repair of a 3300 year old death mask. 

In August 2014, cleaning staff in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo mishandled. They accidentally knocked off the beard of Tutankhamun’s death mask. In no time at all, they glued the separated beard back on with an insoluble epoxy resin ( also known as superglue ). This was not a good idea, as it later turned out: “ They didn’t reattach the beard in its original position, the beard tilted slightly to the left side,” explains Christian Eckmann. 

The German is a recognized restorer from the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, an archaeological research institute in Mainz.He was commissioned by the Cairo Museum to restore the death mask. It was feared that the valuable artefact had been irreparably damaged with the dilettante glue. Eckmann calmed the minds and said that the damage could be repaired. “ The beard was not only damaged during the work, but it was already damaged when Howard Carter found the mask,” Eckmann says. “

After the excavation, when the mask was brought to the museum, they had not reattached the beard to the mask – until 1946.” Nicholas Reeves then claims that Tutankhamun’s grave mask and many other treasures of the tomb were originally made for the queen and only later manipulated, namely when the king died unexpectedly young. Since 2001, research has suggested that it may originally have been intended for Queen Neferneferuaten; her royal name ( Ankhkheperure ) was found in a partly erased cartouche on the inside of the mask. Anyway, the mask originally consisted of two parts. Matchings with the faces of Nefertiti and Tutankhamun speak clearly for an adaptation of the mask for Nefertiti ! The Egyptologist Chris Naughton, Director for The Egypt Exploration Society, tries to clarify the situation.

The mask is 54 cm ( 21 in ) tall, 39.3 cm ( 15.5 in ) wide and 49 cm ( 19 in ) deep. It is fashioned from two layers of high-karat gold, varying from 1.5–3 mm ( 0.059–0.118 in ) in thickness, and weighing 10.23 kg ( 22.6 lb ). X-ray crystallography has revealed that the mask contains two alloys of gold: a lighter 18.4 karat shade for the face and neck, and 22.5 karat gold for the rest of the mask. 

A protective spell is inscribed with Egyptian hieroglyphs on the back and shoulders in ten vertical and two horizontal lines.The spell first appeared on masks in the Middle Kingdom, 500 years before Tutankhamun, and was used in Chapter 151 of the Book of the Dead :
„ Thy right eye is the night bark ( of the sun-god ), thy left eye is the day-bark, thy eyebrows are ( those of ) the Ennead of the Gods, thy forehead is ( that of ) Anubis, the nape of thy neck is ( that of ) Horus, thy locks of hair are ( those of ) Ptah-Sokar. ( Thou art ) in front of the Osiris ( Tutankhamun ). He sees thanks to thee, thou guidest him to the goodly ways, thou smitest for him the confederates of Seth so that he may overthrow thine enemies before the Ennead of the Gods in the great Castle of the Prince, which is in Heliopolis … the Osiris, the King of Upper Egypt Nebkheperure [ Tutankhamun’s throne-name ], deceased, given life by Re.“

King Tutankhamun’s collection of treasures is significant for several reasons. The treasures date back to the Eighteenth Dynasty, which is considered the most prosperous era of Ancient Egypt. At that time, Egypt had strengthened relations and cultural influence with the regions of the Ancient Near East, especially those of the northeastern territories and the Aegean Sea, as a result of military campaigns, trade, and the exchange of craftsmen and artists. Tutankhamun’s collection is the most complete royal treasure ever discovered, consisting of more than 3850 artifacts. Spectacular examples include an exquisite gold mask and three mummy-shaped coffins, one of solid gold and two of gilded wood. 

This collection was kept intact in Egypt to show how royal tombs were provisioned. The discovery included everyday artifacts such as toys and games, chairs, stools and beds, wine jars and boxes of food, bows, arrows, swords, and boomerangs. The collection also included guardian statues, ritual statues of deities, and magical objects to protect and assist the king in the afterlife. We learn much from this discovery about the personal life of the king, such as his love of hunting, his happy marriage to his wife, Ankhesenamun, and his relations with high officials, who provided him inscribed shawabtis, statuettes intended to perform work in place of the deceased in the underworld.

Photograph by De Agostini Picture Library, G. Dagli Orti/Bridgeman