March 8, 2016
I went with two friends visiting the Exhibition : "Sarcophagi Under the stars of Nut" in the Cinquantenaire Museum.
Nut was the Egyptian goddess of the sky and and also carried symbols representing resurrection and rebirth. Sometimes she was depicted as stretched across the skies with stars forming her clothing, her elongated legs and outstretched arms symbolized the four pillars of the heavens.
We thought we would only see sarcophagi, but it turned out that this was not at all the case. It was an exclusive exhibition on Egyptian sarcophagi where we could get a first look behind the scenes of the restoration process and learn all about ancient Egyptian funerary rituals. We saw coffins, death masks and embalmed cats, and other animals many of which have never been shown before.
We also could watch an expert Italian restoration team at work as they restore the coffins of the Theban priests that were discovered in 1891 in the Second Cache of Deir el-Bahari one by one.
Of course we were checked at the entrance, just like at the airport, which has now become normal. It went quickly and we got in.
Walking through the exhibition we could see the Egyptian mourning ritual through the display of statues of wailing women that cry over the deceased. Then the items the dead needed to bring with them to ensure safe passage to the realm of Osiris, god of the Afterlife. After that, followed a chronological sketch of the evolution of sarcophagi from ordinary non adorned coffins from the prehistoric era and the Old Kingdom, to the richly decorated examples of the later periods. One hall was entirely dedicated to the ancient Egyptian process of mummification.
The different layers of a sarcophagi with a scarabaeus painting at the end
This one looked like a huge vase with a handle, you could open and look inside. It was empty.
For the first time we saw sarcophagi with the two hands outside. They were just fixed outside.
Beautiful paintings inside the sarcophagi
If you think that these coffins date from long before JC, it varied from 400 to 3000 years ! And the colors are still intact ! Amazing.
Two little once in a box
Again beautiful paintings
A mummy with a gold mask
Of course I admired the cat sarcophagi ! They were beautiful
also dating long before JC.
inscriptions on stone
Little gifts in the boxes containing the sarcophagi
and also less preserved remains
The mummy of a little boy
The Romans copied the Egyptians and had their death masks made
Some Egyptian once
At the end of the exhibition we could watch the Italian team working on a sarcophagi. It was very interesting to see all the instruments and machines they used.
At the exit you could buy souvenir coins
choose a background and make a selfie, which was send to your email address.
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
March 8, 2016