The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial at the National Museum of Scotland

English: Statue of pharaoh Amenhotep II of the...

Statue of pharaoh Amenhotep II of the 18th dynasty of Egypt making an offering from the Temple of Amun at Thebes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friday March 31 at the National Museum of Scotland shall open the exhibition, “The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial”, bringing two missing fragments for a decorative wooden box made c1400BCE, during the reign of King Amenhotep II, which had been in the museum’s collection for 160 years.

Two fragments of a decorative wooden box made c1400BCE, during the reign of King Amenhotep II, were held at the London-based dealer until Egyptologist Tom Hardwick made the connection to a piece in the National Museums Scotland’s collection last April.

Amenhotep II box fragments found

Amenhotep II box and fragments [Credit: National Museums Scotland]


George Ludlow, gallery manager of Charles Ede, recalls that after finding out about the link, the gallery immediately contacted the museum. The museum was then able to purchase for £25,000, with support from the Art Fund and the National Museums Scotland Charitable Trust, the two missing fragments for the box which had been in the museum’s collection for 160 years.

Amenhotep II box fragments found

Drawing and watercolor of the box before restoration by Cyril Aldred, 1946 [Credit: National Museums Scotland]

The 22cm tall box is made of cedar wood, ebony, ivory, gold, copper alloy and faience. The use of exotic material signifies the wealth of Amenhotep II and the extent of his empire into reaches of the Mediterranean. It is thought to have been used to store cosmetics or perfume in the royal palace.

 

Amenhotep II box fragments found

Margaret Maitland, senior curator of the Ancient Mediterranean at National Museums Scotland, with a box from the reign of Amenhotep II. The museum purchased missing fragments of the box for £25,000, with support from the Art Fund and the National Museums Scotland Charitable Trust [Credit: National Museums Scotland]

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to reunite these fragments with our spectacular box, which is one of the great treasures from our ancient Egyptian collections,”

said Margaret Maitland, senior curator of the Ancient Mediterranean at National Museums Scotland.

“Palace objects from ancient Egypt are extremely rare, so it’s very exciting for us to be able to confirm this object’s royal connections.”

The tomb was constructed in the great city of Thebes shortly after the reign of Tutankhamun for the Chief of Police and his wife. It was looted and reused several times, leaving behind a collection of beautiful objects from various eras. These will be displayed alongside objects found in nearby tombs, giving a sense of how burial in ancient Egypt changed over time.

The tomb’s final use occurred shortly after the Roman conquest of Egypt, when it was sealed intact with the remarkable burials of an entire family. The exhibition comes ahead of the new Ancient Egypt gallery, opening after a a 15 year Masterplan designed to transform the National Museum of Scotland, restoring one of the UK’s finest Victorian buildings, revealing remarkable treasures, and creating inspiring learning experiences to engage yet more visitors, at the National Museum of Scotland in 2018.

Canopy of sycamore-fig wood painted in red, black, blue, yellow and white in the shape of a shrine, with an arched roof and corner-posts : Ancient Egyptian, excavated by A.H. Rhind in the tomb of Montsuef at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Thebes, Early Roman period, c.9BC

Canopy of sycamore-fig wood painted in red, black, blue, yellow and white in the shape of a shrine, with an arched roof and corner-posts : Ancient Egyptian, excavated by A.H. Rhind in the tomb of Montsuef at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Thebes, Early Roman period, c.9BC

– Source: Antiques Trade Gazette [January 28, 2017] + National Museum of Scotland

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