The Egyptian museum at Turin is most important museum next to the one in Cairo. The museum is located at the heart of Turin near Piazza San Carlo. The entrance ticket is 13 Euros. There was a man dressed like Tutankhamun at the entrance and he was screaming scaring the people standing in the queue just for fun. They have audio headphones and brochure explaining the museum in detail. So solo tour inside the museum is comfortable. The museum has four floors and I liked the ground floor having the Gallery of the kings. It was very interesting, informative and mesmerizing to know the ancient culture and civilization of Egypt as old as 4000 years. Tutankhamun is Pharaoh of new kingdom, his gold face mask is very famous and also the tomb excavated got maximum media coverage is the year 1922. It’s also believed excavation of his tomb brought early death to the people involved, called the curse of the mummies. Interestingly the museum has many mummies with and without linen wrapped on. They have in display the people who died 4500 years ago is unbelievable.
Like I said the gallery of the kings made me feel like I am walking in a palace hall of a mighty king staring at me with a smile. At the centre of the hall in ground floor, the Pharaoh Horemheb (1319 -1292 BC) stands besides sun god Amun. The Pharaoh statue is shorter than God Amun to represent superiority of god over king. The Sun god Amun was worshipped to gain victory in war and to save the less fortunate upholding justice. The other end of the hall has the Statue of Pharaoh Sethi II (1202 -1198 BC) in a standing posture with leg forward. The Pharaoh Sethi II has Amun represented by animal Ram in the head. The crown also has a Cobra serpent symbol representing Uraeus. Egyptian Pharaoh Crowns with Uraeus represent the divinity of the king. Uraeus is the daughter of Sun god Ra.
There was the huge Sphinxes with human head and body of lion at either side of the hall. The Sphinx represent the tomb of the Pharaoh or the queen. The Sphinx guard important places and is also famous in the pyramid of Giza, Egypt. The statue of Ramesses II, the Pharaoh who lived in 1200 BC is one of the famous kings of Egypt. He is called “Ramesses the great” and as the great ancestor. The statue is made of Granodiorite and represents Ramesses II wearing a tunic cloth and footwear. His earlobes are pierced as this statue is Amarna art style. He has Khepresh as crown. He holds a Crook in right hand and a Flail in left hand. His wife and son are represented in miniatures near his foot.
Some interesting information about the Crowns and identity of the Kings of Egypt:
- The Nemes is a head cloth with two broad wings. It was decorated with alternating blue and gold stripes symbolizing the cycle of night and day.
- The Khepresh is a blue crown worn by New Kingdom pharaohs in battle and ceremonies.
- The Crook and Flail represent Kingship and Fertility.
- The Pshent is a double crown white and red representing Upper and Lower Egypt.
- The Atef is a white crown representing Upper Egypt with two Ostrich feathers symbolizing Maat, the goddess of truth and justice. It has solar disk and Ram horns on top.
The King wears a false beard representing virility and his divine nature. The god’s beard is curved and the king’s beard is straight. A bull’s tail is attached to the pharaoh’s kilt. It grants him the power of the sacred animal. In seated statues it is often sculpted between the legs. The main scepters held by the Pharaohs are the Heka (crook) and Nekhakha (flail). The Heka implies the king is like a Shepherd who guides his people. The Flail is an agricultural tool used for thrashing grains.
There was statue of Ptah the creator god holding an Ankh-Djed. Ankh is a cross like structure with a loop at top representing life. Djed is a pillar like symbol representing stability.
The Statue of Pharaoh Tuthmosis III, the 18th Dynasty ruler who ruled for 54 years around 1400 BC was present in seated posture. He wears a shendyt kilt, Nemes headdress and Uraeus cobra on forehead. Bull’s tail is attached to the kilt. On the sides of the throne is Sema-Tawy, a sign composed of Upper and Lower Egypt, the lotus and papyrus interwoven. The feet of the king has nine bows which represent the enemies. These symbols mean the King guards his people from the enemies and keeps together the two Lands of Egypt.
The museum has the temple of Ellesiya built in 18th dynasty during the regime of Pharoah Tuthmosis III. The temple of Ellesiya is moved from Egypt to Turin in 1960s by UNESCO to protect it from getting submerged by Lake Nasser. Selected stones are carved out from the temple to rebuild here. The temple is built for deities Amun, Horus and Satet. The temple has an inclined entrance. The shrine has three statues seen from the entrance. The statue at the center is the Pharaoh with gods Horus and Satet on either sides. During Pharaoh Ramesses II period the Pharaoh image was recurved to Satet and the Statue at left was recarved as Amun-Re (The sun god). The stone carvings are explained in the board outside. Most of the carving depict the king offering food and wine to God. The variety of foods carved in rock is stunning. The other carving show the deities giving their blessing to the King. The two ladies and the man carving represents the King with the goddess of north and south Egypt, Wadjet and Nekhbet to protect both lands.
There are plenty of Sekhmet statues in different postures. Sekhmet was a fearsome goddess. The daughter of Sun god. She has Ankh, scepter representing Life in hand. She brings water in the Nile and is believed to cause extreme heat in Egypt. She is appeased by rites SehetepSekhmet (meaning appeasing the powerful one).
More details about the Egyptian museum will be available in my next post. This became more like a history blog than a travel blog which took me more time to bring in all the details. Hope you feel at Egypt after reading the blog.