Egyptian Museums: Featured artifacts in July
Egypt has a rich and diverse history and culture spanning thousands of years. From the ancient pharaohs and pyramids to the modern cities and museums, there is much to explore and learn about Egypt. The featured artifacts for July are a great way to glimpse some aspects of Egyptian civilization from different eras and regions.
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The featured pieces for July were chosen by a public poll on the museums’ social media pages, showing how the museums engage with the public and promote tourism and archaeological awareness.
The Islamic Art Museum displays an inlaid ivory and bone backgammon box from the Ottoman era. Backgammon is one of the oldest board games in the world, and it is still prevalent in many countries today. It is believed to have originated in Persia and spread to other regions through trade and conquest.
The Sharm El-Sheikh Museum displays a golden fan of King Tutankhamun, which has a handle shaped like a lotus flower, on which one of his hunting adventures is engraved. King Tutankhamun was one of the most famous pharaohs of ancient Egypt who ruled for about ten years during the 18th dynasty. He died young, and his tomb was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter, revealing many treasures and secrets.
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The Royal Jewelry Museum presents the Order of Perfection in gold, camouflaged with blue and white enamel, and studded with diamonds. This order was a gift from King Farouk to Queen Farida on the occasion of their wedding, and it bears the qualities of perfection: sincerity, loyalty, benevolence, tenderness, and honor. King Farouk was the last king of Egypt, who ruled from 1936 to 1952 before a military coup overthrew him. Queen Farida was his first wife, who bore him three daughters but no sons.
The Alexandria National Museum displays a marble panel from the Ottoman era, decorated with an inscription in Persian script representing the founding text for establishing and renewing one of the kataibs set for the endowment of Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaytbay. Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaytbay was one of Egypt’s most prominent Mamluk sultans who ruled from 1468 to 1496. He was known for patronizing architecture, art, and literature and for his military campaigns against the Ottomans.
The Hurghada Museum displays a bronze warrior statue from the Roman era that shows a warrior in Roman clothing in combat readiness. The Roman Empire conquered Egypt in 30 BC, after the death of Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Egypt became a province of Rome and was ruled by governors appointed by the emperor. The Romans introduced many changes to Egypt’s economy, society, religion, and culture.
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The Manial Palace Museum displays a piece of art from the palace mosque, which Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfik endowed as a prayer endowment and established a door to allow worshipers from outside the palace to pray in it. Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfik was the son of Khedive Tewfik Pasha and the uncle of King Farouk. He built the Manial Palace as his residence and museum between 1899 and 1929, in a unique style that combines Islamic, Ottoman, Persian, Moorish, and European elements.
The Royal Vehicles Museum in Cairo displays a photograph of Princess Fawzia Fuad, the second wife of Sultan Hussein Kamel, who was called the princess of the poor and the patroness of orphans. She was known for her charity work and generosity towards the needy. In Ramadan, she would devise a procession that included a chariot of horses called “the couple” and distribute silk bags, each containing ten golden riyals. She also spread the lobes of the crown she inherited from her mother to the poor.
The Gayer Anderson Museum displays two copper cups with two handles on which are inscriptions. The Gayer Anderson Museum is located in two adjacent houses dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries in Cairo. The houses were restored and furnished by Major Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson Pasha, a British army officer who lived there from 1935 to 1942. He collected many artifacts from different periods and regions of Egypt and displayed them in his museum.
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The Cairo International Airport Museum 2 displays an icon of Saints Cosmas and Damian from the 18th century, made of painted wood. Saints Cosmas and Damian were twin brothers who lived in the 3rd century AD and were known as physicians and healers. They are venerated as martyrs and saints by many Christian denominations, especially in the Coptic Orthodox Church. Icons are religious images used for worship and devotion in some Christian traditions.
The Cairo International Airport Museum 3 displays a limestone statue from the Ptolemaic era, representing Nes-Meno, the son of Khnum-Aib-Ra, standing on the youth stage. It was found in the Karnak cache in Luxor in 1904. The Ptolemaic era was the period of Egyptian history from 305 to 30 BC, when Egypt was ruled by the Greek dynasty founded by Ptolemy I Soter, one of the generals of Alexander the Great. The Ptolemies adopted many aspects of Egyptian culture, such as religion, language, and art, but also introduced some Greek influences.
The Suez National Museum displays the Order of Perfection, consisting of two pieces, a medal, and a wooden box with the royal crown and the name of King Fouad I. This is the same order presented by King Farouk to Queen Farida, but this one was awarded to someone else who performed excellent services to the country or humanity. King Fouad, I was the father of King Farouk and the grandfather of King Fuad II, the last monarch of Egypt. He ruled from 1917 to 1936 and was the first king to use the title of King of Egypt and Sudan.
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The Ismailia Antiquities Museum displays the head of a sandstone statue from the era of the New Kingdom of a person named Ockerman, who has a scarab on top of his head as a symbol of protection, resurrection, and eternal life. The New Kingdom was the period of Egyptian history from 1550 to 1069 BC when Egypt reached its peak of power and prosperity. The scarab was a sacred insect in ancient Egyptian religion, associated with the sun god Ra and the concept of rebirth.
The Tanta Archaeological Museum displays a royal statue of the king of the 29th Dynasty (Nai-if-A-Rod) in black basalt. The figure shows the perfect anatomical details of the body from the chest and abdomen muscles. The 29th Dynasty was a short-lived dynasty that ruled Egypt from 399 to 380 BC during political instability and foreign invasion. Nai-if-A-Rod was the last king of this dynasty, who tried to resist the Persian occupation but was eventually captured and executed.
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The Farouk Corner Museum displays a backgammon game from the 20th century, made of wood inlaid with mother-of-pearl and ivory, with scenes inspired by ancient Egyptian art. The game comprises 15 ivories, 15 ebonies, and two seashell dice. The Farouk Corner Museum is located in the Helwan Palace, built by King Farouk in 1946 as his summer residence. The museum showcases his belongings and memorabilia, such as his cars, clothes, medals, and furniture.
The Kafr El-Sheikh Museum displays a royal statue of red granite, the upper part of which depicts King Thutmose III with a headdress (Nems) decorated with a cobra. King Thutmose III was one of the greatest pharaohs of ancient Egypt, who ruled from 1479 to 1425 BC during the 18th dynasty. He was known as the Napoleon of Egypt for his military conquests and expansion of the Egyptian empire. He also built many temples and monuments, such as the Karnak complex.
The Kom Oshim Antiquities Museum displays a wooden model of a house, and inside, it shows a group of people doing some of the daily household chores. It was found in the ancient cemetery of Hawara, from the Middle Kingdom, the 11th Dynasty. The Middle Kingdom was the period of Egyptian history from 2055 to 1650 BC when Egypt was reunified and stabilized after chaos and civil war. The wooden models were placed in tombs as offerings for the afterlife, depicting scenes from everyday life.
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The Mummification Museum in Luxor displays a model of a funerary boat made of wood, which is a boat for transporting the deceased’s body across the Nile to the western mainland, where the burial place of the god Osiris is. It was found in the village of Al-Barsha, Minya governorate, and dates back to the Middle Kingdom. The mummification process was an elaborate ritual that involved preserving and wrapping the body with linen bandages and placing it in a coffin or casket. The funerary boat was part of the journey to the underworld, where the deceased would face judgment by Osiris.
The New Valley Antiquities Museum displays a copper medical instrument from the Roman era used in surgery and embalming rituals. The Roman era was the period of Egyptian history from 30 BC to 395 AD when Egypt became a province of Rome after the death of Cleopatra VII, who committed suicide after losing to Octavian (later Augustus Caesar). The Romans introduced many changes to Egypt’s economy, society, religion, and culture but also adopted some aspects of Egyptian medicine and science.
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The Matrouh Museum displays pottery from the late Roman era that is part of the oligarchs used to save water and placed in the streets to quench the thirst of passers-by on the road. Matrouh is a coastal city in northwestern Egypt inhabited since ancient times. It is known for its beaches, natural springs, caves, and historical sites. The pottery displayed in the museum are examples of how water was stored and distributed in the arid climate of Egypt.
The Sohag National Museum displays a quartz statue from the era of the New Kingdom, the upper half of which depicts the Warthi prince wearing false hair and beard, and from the front some vertical hieroglyphic writings and from the back part of the backrest and details of the hieroglyphic writings. Sohag is a city in Upper Egypt home to many ancient monuments and archaeological sites, such as the White Monastery, the Red Monastery, and the Abydos Temple. The quartz statue displayed in the museum is a rare example of a royal portrait from the New Kingdom, showing the details of the facial features and the inscriptions.
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The Mallawi Museum displays a small statue from the New Kingdom of the 18th Dynasty, made of limestone, of one of Akhenaten’s daughters standing and holding an offering in her right hand and the left arrow next to her. Mallawi is a city in Upper Egypt located near the ancient city of Hermopolis, a major religious center in ancient Egypt. The statue displayed in the museum is one of the artifacts looted and damaged during the 2013 riots but was later recovered and restored. Akhenaten was a controversial pharaoh who ruled from 1353 to 1336 BC, who introduced a monotheistic worship of the sun god Aten and moved his capital to Amarna.
The National Police Museum displays a kala (the bearer of the buttons) made of marble from the Fatimid period. It consists of a base resting on four legs in the shape of a turtle, and the essential characteristic is the presence of a basin below to collect water for birds and animals to drink from.
The National Police Museum is located in the Citadel of Cairo, which was built by Salah al-Din (Saladin) in 1176 as a fortress and royal residence. The museum showcases the history and evolution of the Egyptian police force from ancient times to modern times. The kala displayed in the museum is an example of a water dispenser used in mosques and public places during the Fatimid period. This Shia Islamic dynasty ruled Egypt from 969 to 1171.
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The Luxor Museum displays a quartz statue of King Amenhotep III (Neb-Maat-Ra), one of ancient Egypt’s most famous and fabulous kings. He ruled from 1391 to 1353 BC during the 18th dynasty and was known for his peaceful reign and building projects, such as his mortuary temple and colossal statues (the Colossi of Memnon). He was also the father of Akhenaten and the grandfather of Tutankhamun. The figure displayed in the museum shows him standing in life-size, wearing the double crown, and holding a scepter.
The Tell Basta Museum displays a statue of Fajar depicting the head of his master in his youth, dating back to the Greco-Roman era. It shows the beauty and accuracy of features and bright colors and wears a headdress still used today. Tell Basta is an archaeological site in Lower Egypt that was once the ancient city of Bubastis, dedicated to the cat goddess Bastet. The statue displayed in the museum is an example of how some Egyptians adopted Greek styles and customs after Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 BC.