TURIN’S EGYPTIAN TREASURES The Museo Egizio (Egyptian Museum) in Turin is one of the world’s must-see museums. NADIA DURRANI takes us on a tour, in person and online. With everything from priceless papyri to treasures that rival those of Tutankhamun, Turin’s Museo Egizio contains the largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts outside Cairo. Founded in 1824, the museum recently underwent a massive modernisation programme, becoming one of the most visited museums in Italy, only to close in the wake of the pandemic. Once the doors finally reopen, and for those able to visit in person, allow yourself at least a day since there is so much to see. I could zero in on the pre-Pharaonic burial of an anonymous man, dated to the mid fourth millennium BC. From upper glass walkways, visitors get a bird’s eye view onto his circular grave to see how his naturally preserved mummy takes the foetal position and is surrounded by grave-goods including arrows, baskets, and a pair of sandals. At the other end of the spectrum, look out for the life-sized stone statue of Pharaoh Ramesses II (r. 1279-1213 BC) from the Temple of Amun at Karnak. His wife and son are shown either side of his legs on a smaller scale to depict dynastic continuity. This is one of many colossal statues at the museum, which remain together like a cast of ancient celebrities, in an original ground floor gallery since they were too heavy to shift during the revamp. But if your time is limited then go directly to the gallery dedicated to the Tomb of Kha. It is, quite simply, one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of ancient Egypt...
Among over 30,000 artefacts at the Museo Egizio is this natural mummy of an adult male, as viewed from above (c.3600-3350 BC).
The Past | April/May 2021