Egyptian Museum Description
To the northwest of the Liberation Square is the large range of buildings (1897-1902) occupied by the Egyptian Museum, which has the world’s largest and finest collection of Egyptian and Graeco-Roman antiquities, founded in 1857 by the French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette (1821-81 ). To do full justice to the Museum, which can display only a fraction of its total holdings, several days would be required. Visitors who are pressed for time will do well to confine themselves to the celebrated treasures of Tutankhamun and a selection of the Old Kingdom material.
Linen production was massive and highly skilled from the Old Kingdom to the Graeco-Roman Period. Fabrics more than 2m wide were not unusual. Some were so fine they were woven from only two linen fibers which made them transparent. Horizontal looms can be seen in models of workshops which were found in tombs. Wool was considered unclean an was rarely used until the end of the New Kingdom and the Graeco-Roman period.
Egyptian Museum Highlights
Egyptian Museum – Graeco-Roman and Coptic Periods
Room 34: the trilingual Decree of Canopus (238 B.C.), in hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek scripts.
Egyptian Museum – Grand Gallery
Stone sarcophagi of the Old Kingdom.
Egyptian Museum – Grave Goods
Room 13: sarcophagi and grave goods from the Tomb of Yuya and Tuya, parents-in-law of Amenoph is III. Room 12: material from royal tombs at Thebes. Room 17: material from the tomb of the fan bearer
Maherpra (18th Dynasty). Rooms 22, 27, 32 and 37 sarcophagi and grave goods of the Middle Kingdom. Room 14: Roman coffins and mummy portraits. Room 19: figures of gods and sacred animals. Rooms 24 and 29: funerary papyri, drawings on limestone fragments, sculptors’ models.
Egyptian Museum – Jewelry
Room 3: a magnificent collection of jewelry, illustrating the development of the goldsmith’s art from the earliest period (c. 3200 B.C.) to Byzantine times (A.D. 395-650). Of particular interest
are four bracelets from the tomb of King Djer (First Dynasty; Case 2), demonstrating the high degree of skill achieved even at this early period; a gold falcon’s head (Sixth Dynasty; Case 3, No. 4010); the Treasure of Dahshur, with outstanding examples of the work of the Middle Kingdom (12th Dynasty); the jewelry of Queen Ahhotep, mother of King Amosis, who drove out the Hyksos (1580 B.C.; Case 10); a hoard of gold objects from Bubastis (19th Dynasty; Case 11); and the gold jewelry of Queens Tiy (18th Dynasty) and Tewosret (19th Dynasty).
Egyptian Museum – Late Period
Room24. head of a high official (No. 1,184); head of King Taharqa (the Tirhakah of the Old Testament; No. 1,185); the ” Pithom Stela” of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (No. 851 ) Room 30: alabaster statue of princess Amenirdis (No. 930).
Egyptian Museum – Middle Kingdom and Hyksos Period
Room 26. limestone statue of Amenemhet III (No. 284). Room 22 (middle): tomb chamber of Harhotep, with pictures of the dead man’s household goods (No. 300); ten over-life-size limestone statues of Sesostris I (Nos 301 ff.).
Egyptian Museum – Mummies
Room 52: mummies, particularly mummies of Pharaohs, arranged in chronological order, followed by mummies of Queens. The X-ray photographs shown alongside the mummies have yielded information about their age, state of health and cause of death.
Egyptian Museum – New Kingdom
Room 12: Tuthmosis III as a young man, wearing the crown of Upper Egypt (No. 400); inscription recording Tuthmosis lll’s victories (No. 420); statue of Eset (Isis), mother of Tuthmosis III (Case B,
No. 424); Chapel of the goddess Hathor and statue of the Hathor cow dedicated by Tuthmosis III (Nos 445-446); relief of the Queen of Punt (No. 452); statues of Amenophis (Nos 459, 465, 476); statue of the god Khons (No. 462). Room 3 (Amarna period): colossal statues of Amenophis IV (Akhenaten) from his temple at Karnak (Nos 6,015, 6,016, 6,182). Room 7: sphinx with name of Queen Hatshepsut (No. 6,139) Room 13 (N portico): stela of Amenophis III (Memnon) and Merneptah (No. 599) Atrium (Rooms 18, 23, 28 and 33): colossal group of Amenophis III with his wife and three daughters (No. 610); painted pavement from palace at Tell del-Amarna (No. 627); bier of Osiris (No. 621). Room 20. granite head of Ramesses II (No. 675).
Egyptian Museum – Pyramid Period of the Old Kingdom
Room 42. Diorite statue of Chephren (No. 138); wooden statue known as the Village Headman (No. 140); seated figure of King Djoser (No. 6,008). Room 32: limestone statue of Prince Rahotep and his
wife Nofret (No. 223); limestone statue of the priest Ranufer (Nos. 224-225); painting on stucco of six geese (No. 136E); embossed copper statue of Phiops I (No. 230).
Egyptian Museum – Queen Hetepheres
Room 2: Furnishings of the Tomb of Queen Hetepheres, mother of Cheops.
Egyptian Museum – Treasures of Tutankhamun
The treasures found in the tomb of Tutankhamun, son-in-law and successor of Amenophis IV (Akhenaten), who died at the age of 18. The tomb, discovered by Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings
(Thebes) in 1922, contained the largest and richest assemblage of grave goods ever found intact in an Egyptian tomb, including some of the finest achievements of Egyptian artists and craftsmen.
Egyptian Museum – Tutankhamun Coffin
Particularly fine is the King’s innermost mummiform coffin, of solid gold, with the royal insignia of the vulture and uraeus on the forehead (Case 29; No. 219).
Egyptian Museum – Tutankhamun Mask
Particularly fine is the gold portrait mask which lay within the gold coffin on the head of the mummy (Case 32; No. 220).
Egyptian Museum Rotunda
Recent acquisitions, special exhibitions.