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       Updated:2017-12-12      Text:Large /  Medium  /  Small  

                                             “Egypt. House of Eternity”Exhibits in Henan Museum.



                       Yang Liping, director of Henan Culture Department declares the exhibition opening.

                                             Tian Kai, director of Henan Cultural Relics Bureau addresses.

                                                                          Ma Xiaolin, director of Henan Museum makes a speech.


                                     The director of Mondo Mostrer Egypt Museum of Italy makes a speech.




                                                                     Leaders visit the exhibition.

“Egypt. House of Eternity”Exhibits in Henan Museum

“Egypt. House of Eternity”exhibited in Henan Museum on Dec.8, 2017.

Yang Liping, director of Henan Provincial Culture Department, Tian Kai, director of Henan Cultural Relics Bureau,  director of Mondo Mostrer Egypt Museum of Italy, Wan Jie, Secretary of the Party Committee of the Henan Museum, Ma Xiaolin, director of Henan Museum, and some other relevant leaders from Hunan, Guangdong, Liaoning, Shanxi etc. took part in the opening ceremony.

“Egypt. House of Eternity”exhibited totally 144 sets of 235 precious relics in Henan Museum this time. The exhibition was divided into three parts: "daily life", "religion" and "funeral ritual". All of them included the mummy, gods, pharaoh's statue and amulets and daily necessities. The cultural relics covered about three thousand years of ancient Egypt history.

 Yang Liping, director of Henan  Culture Department declared the exhibition opening.Tian Kai, director of Henan Cultural Relics Bureau addressed at the opening ceremony. The director of Mondo Mostrer Egypt Museum of Italy made a speech too.

The exhibition will last from Dec.8, 2017 to Mar. 22, 2018. Then it will exhibits in Hunan, Guangdong, Liaoning, Shanxi etc.

Some Introductions of the cultural relics :

Egypt. House of Eternity

Ordinary life

In common thought, Ancient Egypt has always had the characteristics of a mystical and legendary land. Still today, after seeing great Egyptian collections, people have the impression that Egyptian people were completely devoted to death. This perception is due to the kind of objects that were preserved, beautiful funeral artifacts that tell stories of peculiar habits and beliefs, very interesting and exciting but exclusively related to the funeral sphere.

Egyptian people did not actually think only about death. On the contrary, they loved life, so much that they looked for it also after their passing. Life, especially ordinary, daily life, is the main character of the first section of this exhibition Egypt. House of Eternity.

For millennia, the teeming Egyptian civilization depended on the Nile and its systematic floods. The day was long and the Sun strong, especially on the poor peasants who spent their days on the fields. On the other hand, the noblemen who owned these lands enjoyed their time in the cool shady areas under the palm trees, dedicating themselves to hunting and fishing for pleasure, the cultural relics left in this area recall these scenes.

In this first section, visitors can see not only the Palette for make-up, small delicate combs, and also the usekh collars of various precious minerals, which shows that the pursuit of beauty is a significant part of Egyptians' daily life.

In ancient Egypt the temple was literally the house of god and its structure represented the gigantic transposition in stone of complex theological concepts. Structural elements had a precise symbolic meaning: the floor, rising on the approach to the god’s naos, represented the primordial hill coming out of the nun, the ceiling was the sky and the column represented the stone stylisation of the plant growing along the Nile.

The construction of the great Assuan dam in the Sixties motivated UNESCO to undertake an ambitious rescue operation for those temples that, if left in their original site, would have been submerged in the artificial basin which was going to be created, today called Nasser lake. Among these temples were also included: the one in el-Dakka, a place 100 km south of Assuan, built and modified by several sovereigns;the one to the god Amon in Debod, a place near the first cataract, built around the 2nd century BC, reproduced by the small model in the centre; and that of Dendur, which is not Egyptian but Roman, commissioned by Augustus and dedicated to Isis, Pedesi and Pihor (who were the deified sons of a Nubian leader), reproduced by the small model on the right. They were moved respectively to el-Sebu’a, in Nubia, to Madrid and to New York. 

It was common for the high clergy or nobility to commission precious statues in hard stone to be portrayed in the act of holding an aedicule or small temple containing a divine statue or simply with the emblems that declared the office held.In most cases, these statues were destined to temples, with a votive purpose, and populated the open air courts of the Egyptian temples.

We don’t know the position held by the rest of the statue whose head is here displayed.It represents a face modelled with sophisticated elegance, the wide brow, softly shaped, all elements that indicate the craftsmanship of a royal court workshop.

The Egyptian museum holds 21 statues of Sekhmet, the lioness head goddess, attributable to a large series located in the temple to the vulture goddess Mut a Karnak.

The statue on the left, sitting on a low-backed throne, with a human body and a lion head, represents divine fury.Her arms are stretched on her legs, she wears a long garment of the type described as being corseted (closely fitting the body), a wsekh collar on her chest, and a tripartite wig at the back of the finely worked relief mane.There must have been a crown on the wig or a particular type of head covering of which today only the support remains.

The statue on the right, on the other hand, represents the same divinity with the body of a woman and a lion’s head (leonthocephalus), holding a wadj sceptre in the shape of a stalk of papyrus, andwith a tripartite wig on her head over which there is a sun disk with uraeus.

This large fragment from the colossal statue must have belonged to a statue representing a particular image of the god Amon,which is also calledthe “criosphyinx”: a sphinx with the body of a lion and head of a ram. The fragment presents a cavity in the middle of the forehead which testifies to the original presence of a second element, probably a sun disk with an uraeus. 

As the comparison with some of the statues found alongside the processional route from the first pillar of the large temple to Amon in Karnak, and the one that linked the 10th pillar of the same temple to the temple to Mut (on the south side of the side) suggests, it probably came from one of these two locations. 

The stele is one of the very common object in ancient Egypt. Established since the very first dynasties up to the Roman Period, it represents an essential element in several contexts, especially in funerary proceedings and in temples. 

The stele of Thutmosi III belongs to the second type, it is therefore a votive stele, divided into two registers: one decorated with hollowed motifs, while the other, smooth, was destined for hieroglyphic inscriptions. The winged sun disk with a double uraeus, the symbol of royalty, can be found over the top register. Under this, Thutmosi III is represented on the right, and in front of the ithyphallic god Min. The representation is completed by some hieroglyphic inscriptions quoting the regal title of the Pharaoh and the celestial one of the god. 

It was customary to represent these Egyptian pantheon with small chiselled bronze statuettes, a few centimetres high, which were made with the melting and lost-wax technique. There was no particular preference between the representation of the divinity in animal or human form, but rather a trend towards copying models offered by monumental statues. Even though the specific use of small statuettes has not been precisely defined, the provenance of some of these from large temples suggests a votive function: they were probably magic objects donated to temples when seeking intermediation between the person making the offering and the divinity. 

The goddess Isis was Osiris’ wife and sister, as well as Horus’ mother.She was related to the goddess Hathor, the cow goddess, and for this reason she was often represented with bovine horns enclosing the sun disk.She embodied the virtues of the devoted spouse and the valiant, protecting mother. Her cult developed in a particularly significant manner starting from the Late Period, surpassing that of the other female divinities.

The amulet might have been destined to the protection of children from poisonous animals, in the same way as the goddess protected her son Horus from the dangers of the swamp, or to be placed on a mummy, to facilitate the regeneration and rebirth of the deceased.

The cat goddess Bastet is certainly one of the best known divinities of the Egyptian pantheon and this bronze statuette represents a refined example of craftsmanship which incorporates numerous symbolisms within itself.The statuette combines different emblems and symbols which clarify the characteristics of the goddess and associate her to other divinities.

She is represented with a female body striding majestically and the head of a cat. Although the right arm is missing, she must have been holding with both hands the Aegis bearing the image of the goddess Sekhmet, the fierce lioness with which there was a partial syncretism. On the left forearm there is a small image of the god Nefertum, who like Bastet is a protector divinity of perfumes, represented with a typical lotus flower head piece. Finally, two cats sitting on their back legs can be seen at the feet of the goddess, which highlight the aspect of the goddess nursing her own progeny. 

The cat was known in Egypt already in the Predynastic Period (5300 – 3000 BC), even though it was only domesticated from the Middle Kingdom Period (2055 – 1655 BC). The small feline would live in homes and for this reason it was associated to the goddess Bastet, guardian of the domestic hearth. 

Among the various possible manifestation, Egyptian gods could also have animal form. It is therefore not surprising that those animals associated to specific divinities might be object of worship. In the temples, priests would chose an example of animal associated to a god which was considered to be their incarnation, and at their death the body, after being mummified, would be placed inside a sarcophagus. From the end of the New Kingdom the practice of worship of animals became more and more a form of personal worship and therefore more widespread, reaching its peak in the Late Period (664 - 332 BC).

The practice of embalming animals was encouraged by different reasons which could involve votive, cultural or funerary-religious beliefs. specifically in relation to votive customs which in this period favoured the offering of animal mummies to the temple on the part of the faithful as ex-voto offerings.

This fragment of a magic statue, although incomplete, demonstrates an incredible technical expertise in its execution.The part that has survived relates to the lower part of a bust of the customer and his hands supporting a stele (or memorial stone) on which there is a representation in relief of the god Horus as a child, standing on two crocodiles.It shows the braid of youths and holds snakes and an antelope in his right hand, other snakes and a scorpion in his left hand.Beside Horus, however, we find: a stick with a papyrus surmounted by a falcon and one surmounted by a lotus flower with a double plumed ostrich feather and two pairs of menat counterweights.The scene is surmounted by the finely detailed mask of the god Bes: his monstrous characteristics are very visible.Furthermore, the surface of the statue is almost entirely covered in hollowed hieroglyphics, which include magic formulae, invoke divinities and chase away demons and malevolent beings.

Magic healing statues can be found only since the New Kingdom, but become widespread only during the Late Period.Their purpose was that of healing the bite of snakes and the sting of scorpions through the water poured through them, specifically on the magic texts that covered them.Water, through this direct contact, became magic and could be drunk by the patient or sprinkled on the area to be treated.