Masterpieces from the Museum of the Egyptian Antiquities
Cairo today contains several major museums, including the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities near Tahrir Square, which is the Middle East’s oldest archaeological museum. The museum building itself is the world’s oldest museum, having opened in 1901 as a museum for Egyptian antiquities. Thousands of ancient Egyptian artifacts are housed at the museum, most of which are unique. A Frenchman called Auguste Mariette, who is regarded as the founder of Egyptology came up with the concept of constructing a museum to house the treasures and relics from ancient Egypt. Unfortunately, the guy died before his dream could be accomplished, and his students opened the museum in his stead. In the Museum’s gardens, there is a statue of Mariette surrounded by bust statues of his students.
Top 10 Artifacts on display
The museum’s main structure is split into two levels, with objects presented in chronological sequence from the Predynastic Period to the Greco-Roman Period, going through the dynastic periods of the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and the New Kingdom. The ground floor houses the most important dynastic stone statues, including the Great Sphinx’s beard and cobra snake, as well as a special room for the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaten and his beautiful wife Queen Nefertiti, while the upper floor houses many of the coffins discovered in El Deir El Bahari’s cachet, the treasure of Yoya and Thoya, Greco-Roman mummies, and the animal mummies room.
Below is a list of some of the Museum’s Highlights
1. The Palette of Narmer
The Palette of Narmer, which dates back to the 31st century BC and contains some of the earliest known hieroglyphic paintings, is considered one of the world’s oldest historical documents. To mark King Narmer’s ascension to power, a 23-inch-long dark green schist stone was fashioned into a ceremonial tablet in the shape of a shield. This sculpture, which depicts Narmer winning the struggle for the union of upper and lower Egypt, is on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada.
2. King Djoser’s Ka Statue
A magnificent life-size statue of King Djoser was carved from a single block of limestone. The statue was discovered in a chamber attached to his step Pyramid at Saqqara, Egypt, on the northern side of the Pyramid, near the entrance. This room is known as the Serdab chamber (which has no door). The King’s statue was placed inside this chamber facing north, with two apertures in the room’s northern wall in front of his eyes to enable him to see the northern star. The king is shown on the statue wearing a long semi-transparent gown, barefooted, with one hand on his thigh and the other on his chest, and a thick hair wig under the Royal Nemes headdress. This is the King’s picture from the Heb Sed celebration, one of the most prominent Ancient Egyptian festivals. Some hieroglyphic inscription on the pedestal of the statue lists some of the King’s titles as well as his true name, “Nethri Ghit,” which means “The divine body.” The text translates as ” King of upper and lower Egypt, the lord of the two ladies “the Volture & the cobra snake”, the divine body”. The statue’s eyes are gone since they were most likely constructed of costly materials.
3. Triads of King Menkawre (Mycerinus)
An English excavator called George Reisner discovered 5 triad sculptures of King Menkawre accompanied by Goddess Hathor and nomes gods in the mummification temple of King Menkawre a.k.a. the valley temple in 1910. Grey-Green Schist is used to create the triads. The Egyptian Museum has three of the triads, while the Boston Museum of Fine Arts houses the other two. The triad depicts the king in a very powerful strict image, with his left leg stepping forward and the white silver crown of upper Egypt above his head, while Hathor stands to his right, wearing her typical crown composed of the sun disc between two cow’s horns, and the other lady is wearing the symbol of her nome.
4. The Beard and Cobra Snake of the Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza, which belongs to King Chephren, is one of the most renowned ancient Egyptian monuments, as well as the world’s biggest figure constructed of a single piece of stone. It is part of Egypt’s legendary Pyramids. The nose, the cobra snake on the forehead, and the beard all tumbled down and fractured due to the poor grade of limestone used to make the Sphinx! The Great Sphinx’s beard and cobra serpent may still be shown at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and they are regarded as essential museum treasures.
5. Royal Seated Scribe
The excellent Royal seated scribe statue at the Egyptian museum exemplifies the ancient Egyptian craftsmen’s and artisans’ incredible expertise. There are no markings on the statue stating who it belongs to, hence it belongs to an unknown scribe. The artist was so skilled and confident in himself that he liberated the statue’s arms as well as the statue itself and created it without a rear pillar, breaking the art foundation and norms of the period. The light wig that allows his ears free so he may listen to what is dictated to him, the eyes inlaid with rock crystals and black nails, and a tiny grin on his face, tell us everything we need to know about scribes in ancient Egypt.
6. Statue of King Chephren (Diorite stone)
The Statue of King Chephren on display at the Egyptian Museum is one of the most remarkable Ancient Egyptian Artifacts since it was carved from a single piece of diorite stone, which is the second hardest stone on the earth after diamond. We don’t know how this statue came to be. It’s important to note that the ancient Egyptians utilized diorite stone to cut other hard stones for building projects, such as granite. A life-size statue of the 4th Dynasty’s third king. During his reign, King Chephren built a pyramid at Giza for himself, which is only second in size in the world to his father, King Khufu’s Great Pyramid of Giza. For centuries, the statue was held under the foundation of Giza’s Valley temple of King Chephren, which is also the king’s mummification temple. Tourists congregate at the statue’s discovery site to throw money and make wishes.
7. The Statuette of King Khufu
The 7.5-inch (3-inch) ivory statue of King Khufu (Cheops) is one of the smallest and most valuable artifacts ever discovered in ancient Egypt, and it is also the sole image of him ever discovered. He is said to be the king for whom the Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed. The statue was discovered on the southern corner of the temple of Osiris in Abydos’ ancient necropolis and is now housed in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. The statue was found headless, and after two weeks of excavating, the statue’s head was uncovered. A serekh name of King Khufu appears on the left shoulder of the statue, suggesting that it is his.
8. Meidum Geese
An amazing painting from the early Dynasty 4 was cut from the tomb of Nefermaat and Itet at Meidum, which may be seen among the Egyptian Museum’s treasures. The geese were formerly part of a bigger tableau in the burial chapel of Itet, the wife of the vizier Nefermaat and most likely King Snefru’s daughter-in-law. As members of the royal family, they were given a spacious Mastaba tomb near the king’s pyramid and were able to hire the most sought-after artisans of the day to help decorate it. The geese were represented underneath a depiction of men catching birds in a clap net and presenting them to the tomb’s owner. While images of fowling in the marshes are prevalent in Old Kingdom tombs, this specimen is one of the oldest and stands out for the exceptional quality of the painting. The artist paid close attention to the colors and textures of the feathers of the birds, even including a serrated beak on the two geese bending to graze.
9. Yuya & Thuya Collection
Yuya and Thuya, King Tutankhamun’s great-grandparents, were the parents of Queen Tiye. Quibell found the tomb in the Valley of the Monkeys in 1905. All of the artifacts in their tomb were crammed into a single room with no adornment or inscriptions. The tomb’s contents contain household objects as well as magnificent furnishings. Yuya and Thuya’s remains were discovered in their coffins. Their bodies are in excellent shape. On the mummies, two golden masks were also found. One of the Egyptian Museum’s most prominent highlights is the Yoya and Thoya collection. Big wooden sarcophagi, large painted wooden coffins, gilded wooden coffins, as well as the mummies of Yuya and Thuya, and many other objects discovered within their tomb in Luxor’s Valley of the Monkeys, are on display at the museum. The Valley of the Monkeys is situated to the west of Luxor’s Valley of the Kings.
10. Rahotep and his wife Nofret
Prince Rahotep and his wife Nofret’s life-like painted limestone sculptures, discovered in 1871 by French archaeologist Albert Auguste Mariette, are among the most well-known private statues from ancient Egypt. The sculptures were unearthed in Rahotep’s mastaba tomb (a rectangular platform tomb) north of Snefru’s pyramid at Meidum during King Snefru’s reign (c. 2575-2551 BC). The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is now housing them. The figures of Rahotep (121 cm) and Nofret (122 cm) are famous examples of the rigorous regulations that regulated this period’s art. These sitting sculptures are sculpted to be seen from the front, unlike Greek sculpture, which is carved to be seen from all sides.
11. Hathor’s Chapel of Thutmose III
The Chapel of Goddess Hathor, which includes a cow figure to symbolize the goddess, is one of the most magnificent treasures in the Egyptian Museum. Both the chapel and the figure within it date from the 18th dynasty, during the conclusion of Thutmose III’s reign and the beginning of Amenhotep II’s. They were unearthed in 1906 during the excavation of the Egypt Exploration Fund at Deir el Bahari. Between the temples of Mentuhotep and Hatshepsut, they were concealed behind stone debris. Neville urged his foremen to cease working during the clearing of the area for fear of producing an avalanche. Regardless, the avalanche happened, and as the dust settled, the digger found himself in front of the holy cow’s entrance. Both the chapel and the statue are built of painted sandstone and were discovered in outstanding condition, as seen by their vibrant color. King Thutmose III is seen on the chapel’s front wall making liquid offerings and burning incense to God Amun, who is seated on the chair and holding the Was scepter, which represents prosperity and the “Ankh” key of life.