The Egyptian Museum: Travel Thoughts 6

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© irene waters 2019

I love museums but the idea of travelling en masse with a bunch of people fills me with dread. Invariably I want to linger at items that no-one else is interested in and those that are explained in depth often don’t hold a lot of appeal to me. Not so at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Currently housed in a beautiful old colonial building, which has outgrown its function, the museum is home to the largest collection of Egyptian antiquity and is arranged by kingdoms.

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© irene waters 2019

We started at the old Kingdom which took in the reign of Menkaure approx 2490 to 2472 BC. Our Egyptologist guide gave us so much information it was impossible to take it all in but visually we started to learn the history of Egypt.

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© irene waters 2019

The chambers and hallways were full of people .

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© irene waters 2019

This statue was fairly normal for an Egyptian statue

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© irene waters 2019

until you looked at it from the side

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© irene waters 2019

and then the rear. The Falcon symbolised the Eye of Horus and the God Ra and denoted divine kingship.

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© irene waters 2019

Dwarves were held in high esteem in ancient Egypt and there were several dwarf gods. Indeed, dwarfs still seem to be fairly common in Egypt as we saw more than I have seen anywhere else in the world whilst we were in Egypt.

From the Old Kingdom we moved to the Middle Kingdom 2100 -1650 BC

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© irene waters 2019

These are ancient but roger and I brought one that looks identical to the middle right.

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© irene waters 2019

Then into the New Kingdom 1650 – 1070 BC

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Examples of the inside of the tombs depicting the passage of the afterlife, the workers (not slaves as commonly thought but craftsman held in high esteem) and every day life.

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© irene waters 2019

We progressed up to the upper level

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and found coffins

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intricately carved pieces of ivory.

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© irene waters 2019

Probably the best known of Egypts antiquities is King Tut (Tutankanem) head piece. In Egypt he is seen as a very minor king and almost not worthy of mention. To us however, he is the epitome of Egypt being the only tomb to have been found intact in the Valley of the Kings and is surrounded by the mysterious deaths of those who entered. Photographs were forbidden inside but there was a small vantage point outside the room where I could see the head piece and I couldn’t resist getting a shot despite it not being a great one.

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© irene waters 2019

Rooms full of mummies. They had to be kept at specific temperatures and humidities to preserve them for generations to come.

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© irene waters 2019

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Even though thousands of years old I still felt a pull of the heartstrings when I saw the size of this little mummie. The earliest mummies were done naturally by putting them in shallow graves in the dessert where The hot dry sand quickly removed all moisture from the body. However, when they started to use coffins they found that those placed in the coffins before the sand did not preserve as well and they started mummification procedures which involved embalming and wrapping in linen strips.

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© irene waters 2019

There were artists who did some beautiful portraits.

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Papyrus scrolls

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miniatures

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and the extreme opposite

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and the boat that would take the deceased into the afterlife.

We only had an afternoon at the museum and it really wasn’t enough to see everything. For me a full day would have been better but I’m sure that museum buffs could easily fill in two days. We’d seen the pyramids and having seen the museum I felt that I had a greater understanding of the sights that I would see in the days to come.

The museum is moving however, and will soon close at this location. A world trip of the artefacts is planned and if it happens to be on at a museum near you I recommend a visit. I’d hate to be the person packing this lot up. It has been here since 1857 when the Egyptian government saw it as a way to keep the artefacts safe and in the country where they belonged. It has become too small and some items never see the light of day. Protecting them from the elements is also an issue and hence the purpose built grand museum of Egypt located at Giza (near the pyramids). Being purpose built it has climate control and interactive displays and much more. Of the 50 hectare site the building will occupy more than one third of it and for the first time will display the entire contents of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

I will probably never see this new museum but I’m glad to have seen this old one.

 

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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10 Responses to The Egyptian Museum: Travel Thoughts 6

  1. Love this tour, thanks for all the photos and commentary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great Post. Museums are always to big to really take in in a day don’t you think. They have to be revisited time after time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Charli Mills says:

    You got to see one of the most amazing museum collections ever! I had never before seen a portrait from the Egyptian tombs. Wow. She was beautiful. Also, you gave me a better understanding of why mummification ever became a thing in Egypt. It shows they were aware of the natural process and sought to replicate it. Fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bernice says:

    I studied Egyptian art and absolutely loved it. What an amazing experience to witness it in person!! Awesome pics!

    Liked by 1 person

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