TOP
 >> Exhibitions
 >> Family Gallery:A Mummy and Ancient Egyptian Gods

Family Gallery:A Mummy and Ancient Egyptian Gods

Family Gallery:A Mummy and Ancient Egyptian Gods / Toyokan Room 3   July 22, 2015 (Wed) - September 13, 2015 (Sun)

  
Mummy of Pasherienptah, Excavated at Thebes (detail), Egypt, 22nd dynasty, ca. 945-730 BC (Gift of Egyptian Department of Antiquities)

Many visitors are drawn to the Tokyo National Museum by the mysterious appeal of our mummy. But why did the people of ancient Egypt create mummies? By looking closely at the objects that were buried with them, we can start to imagine the afterlife that the Egyptians believed in.

Ancient Egyptian gods such as Osiris, who was the king of the underworld, appeared in myths and were though to rule over nature and civilization. Some of these gods had unique forms such those of birds and other animals. But why were Egyptian gods shown in these forms?

This exhibition will answer these questions by introducing visitors to the gods and afterlife of the ancient Egyptian people, who created a rich civilization through the bounty of the Nile River.

 Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
 Major works in this exhibition
* Works listed below are in the TNM Collection unless otherwise indicated.
Tomb Relief of Iny, Excavated at Saqqara, Egypt, Old Kingdom, 6th dynasty, 23rd century BC
Mummy Shroud of Padiinher, Excavated in lower Egypt, Roman period, 1st century
Mummy of Pasherienptah, Excavated at Thebes, Egypt, 22nd dynasty, ca. 945-730 BC (Gift of Egyptian Department of Antiquities)
 

Highlights of the Exhibition

Part 1: What Happened to People in Ancient Egypt After They Died ?

Ancient Egyptian people spent a lot of time and effort making mummies so that dead bodies would last forever instead of decaying. They believed that after a person died, his spirit would travel to the land of the dead. It would then return to its body and the person would live another life, similar to his previous one, in the Fields of Aaru. It was important to preserve the body so that the spirit could return to it. Let’s look at different objects that were buried with mummies to see how the dead travelled to the Fields of Aaru and what they did there.

 

How Mummies Were Made

It took about 70 days for skilled embalmers to make a mummy. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote in his book, Histories, that there were three “grades” of mummy-making. Here is the most expensive one:


(no english)アメン神官のウシャブティ, Excavated in Egypt, Late period, ca. 664-332 BC (Gift of Mr. Momose Osamu and Mrs. Momose Fumiko)

1, The internal organs were removed and dried with the body using natron. This was a natural mixture of minerals, consisting mostly of sodium carbonate (similar to baking soda), that was gathered from the shores of the Nile. Natron absorbs moisture like salt.

2, The heart was the most important organ so it was put back inside the body. Other organs were put into canopic jars. But the brain, which was considered unimportant, was thrown away!

3, After the body was dried and shrunk as a result, it was stuffed and wrapped in many layers of linen bandages until it was back to its original size. It was them placed in a coffin. Sometimes protective Wadjet amulets, ushabti figurines, and other objects were kept with the mummy.


 

 

Part 2: Animals Were Gods in Ancient Egypt !?


Statue of Lion-headed Goddess Sakhmet, Excavated at Thebes, Egypt, New Kingdom, 18th dynasty, 16th-14th century BC

These are statues of gods and goddesses that were worshipped in ancient Egypt. Some gods, like Harpocrates and Amun, looked like humans, but most looked like animals familiar to the Egyptians. These included cats, fish, birds, lions, and hippopotamuses. In ancient Egypt, animals were seen as sacred creatures with wonderful abilities that humans did not have. Egyptian gods, who had superhuman powers, were shown symbolically as animals. These unique-looking gods used their powers to rule over different things like art, wisdom, fertility, and children.

  
Statue of Ibis, Excavated at Tuna el-Gebel, Egypt, Ptolemaic period, 323-30 BC (Gift of Egyptian Government)
Statue of Goddess Bastet, Excavated in Egypt, Late period-Ptolemaic period, 5th-4th century BC (Gift of Mr. Momose Osamu and Mrs. Momose Fumiko)

Related Events

Toyokan TNM&TOPPAN Museum Theater  July 8, 2015 (Wed) - October 12, 2015 (Mon) (Every Wed,Thu,Fri,Sat,Sun,Holiday)    (Wed, Thu, Fri): 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00
(Sat, Sun, Holidays): 11:00, 12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 16:00 *Admission starts 5minites prior to screening.   RESERVE_DAY
Heiseikan Auditorium  August 29, 2015 (Sat) RESERVE_DAY

Related Exhibition

<Heiseikan Special Exhibition Room>   Cleopatra and the Queens of Egypt  July 11, 2015 (Sat) - September 23, 2015 (Wed)
<Toyokan Room 3>   Artifacts from West Asia and Egypt  July 22, 2015 (Wed) - September 13, 2015 (Sun)