Bowes Museum Opens Amazing Egyptian Exhibition

The Bowes Museum presents Amazing Egyptians, on view 2 July until 31 August 2011, exploreing the customs and traditions surrounding life and death in the land of the Pharaohs, through the use of key objects showing the processes involved in preparing a body for the afterlife.


The Bowes Museum

The exhibition, curated by Education Officer Amy Longstaff, will be set out so as to guide visitors on a journey as viewed through the eyes of an embalmer named Lukman, who tells about the Egyptians’ belief in more than one God, and the hoops they were convinced they must jump through in an effort to gain a first class ticket to immortality.

“One of our aims was to show that even the greatest Pharaohs, who led one of the most advanced nations on earth during their dynastic reigns, believed that they had to appease the Gods to make a successful journey to the afterlife,” she said.

Lukman reveals the sometimes gory stories surrounding the way Ancient Egyptians prepared human bodies and animals for mummification, and the grisly details behind the innocent looking canopic jars, used for containing organs removed before the process could begin. On display will be the mummy of an embalmed infant, a cat, a fish and a crocodile, funerary amulets and jewellery, plus hieroglyphic plaques called stela.

Also on show will be shabti figures, sections from the Ancient Egyptians’ Book of the Dead, papyri, and a ‘boat’ to ferry the deceased on their celestial journey. Shabti were initially placed in the tomb to act as a substitute for the body, and inscribed with the name of the deceased, plus a spell to activate them, while the Book of the Dead featured extravagantly illuminated spells for the wealthy as well as lesser spells that the minions hoped would be enough to help them on their journey.

The exhibition, is supported by a full programme of activities throughout the summer, details of which can be found at www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk or by calling 01833 690606.

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