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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Museum of Turin and Its Special Collection

The Museum of Turin is home to one of the most spectacular collections of Egyptian artifacts in the world.

The Egyptian Museum of Turin (the second in the world after the Cairo Museum) was established in 1824, although the University of Turin already owned an important collection of Egyptian material.

In 1824, King Carlo Felice acquired most of the vast collection collected by the Piedmontese Bernardino Drovetti, French consul general in Egypt. During the same year, Jean-Fran├žois Champollion used Turin collection of papyruses to test his breakthroughs in deciphering the hieroglyphic writing.

The time Champollion spent in Turin examining the texts is also the origin of a legend about the mysterious disappearance of the "Papiro Regio", that was only later found and of which some portions are still unavailable.

In 1833, the collection of Piedmontese Giuseppe Sossio (over 1,200 pieces) was added to the Egyptian Museum. The collection was complemented by the finds of Egyptologist Ernesto Schiaparelli during his excavation campaigns between 1900 and 1920.

The Tomb of Kha was discovered in 1906 during the excavation campaign carried out by the Italian archaeological mission in Deir el Medina. This particular exhibit is the most impressive in the entire museum. The tomb, which dates back to 3,500 BC held several sarcophagi and statues, as well as furniture, garments and grooming items.

Kha was an important foreman at Deir El-Medina where he had been responsible for projects constructed during the reigns of 3 kings: Amenhotep II, Thutmose IV and Amenhotep III .

"entirely covered in gold leaf, except for the eyes, eye-brows and cosmetic lines, which are inlaid--quartz or rock crystal for the whites of the eyes, black glass or obsidian for the irises, blue glass for the eyebrows and cosmetic lines. The eye sockets themselves are framed with copper or bronze. His arms are crossed over his chest in the pose of Osiris, lord of the dead. He wears a broad collar with falcon-head terminals. Below this is a vulture with outstretched wings grasping two shen-signs in its talons."

Included in one of Kha's coffins is one of the earliest examples of the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

The Museum of Turin has acquired 3 copies of the Egyptian Book of the Dead including the most ancient copy known. The books were discovered by Schiaparelli in 1906 and til this day they remain displayed in the museum. However, the director has been asked several times to remove them due to their negative energy protruding from the papyrus.

The book of dead was simply the explanation of the afterlife and a collection of hymns, spells, and instructions to allow the deceased to pass through obstacles.

The book of dead was most commonly written on a papyrus scroll and placed in the coffin or burial chamber of the deceased. However, many believe that reading from the scrolls can lead to plague, death, or the end of life as we know it.

Between 1903 and 1920 the Italian Archaeological Mission launched a number of excavations along the Nile, acquiring additional material; new pieces were also added to the museum between 1930 and 1969.


Pastor Larry said...

This was great.

Joanne Olivieri said...

Absolutely fascinating and the photos are excellent. Very nice post.

Bob Johnson said...

Awesome, the book of the dead sounds like something I would want to read, cool pics too.

Cruiselife & Co said...

Thanks so much for the comments everyone. This was really a fascinating subject for me.

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