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Author Topic: AKHENATEN/TUTANKHAMUN  (Read 65600 times)
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« Reply #990 on: November 23, 2008, 05:59:27 pm »

A full inventory, it turned out, hadn't been taken since the 1930s.

So until the new database commissioned is complete, a cloud of unknowing will continue to hang
over the museum, like the hazy gloaming in which parts of it are sunk.

The signage, such as it is, is a law unto itself: a percentage are in English or Arabic, some date from 1902, in rather impatient French, and some are too high to read. The building is arranged according
to the accepted chronology of Egyptian history in the 19th century, which leaves sizeable gaps.

And in room after room, you gaze at things thinking, what is that?

This makes for a unique, and in many ways, uniquely stimulating experience.

Every big museum - the Louvre, the Met, the Uffizi - needs a plan after all, and you can buy a map for LE40 (3.80) or a guidebook (Illustrated Guide to the Egyptian Museum, AUC Press, LE180/17) at the entrance and work your way round the highlights.

Tutankhamun's wonders at the far end of the first floor could be a museum in itself, with its incredible profusion of gold and precious jewels, and unending repetition interlocking shrines and coffins like Russian dolls.

Fatigue, rather than any shortage of highlights, is the only potential problem, and that is when the other side of the museum kicks in: the ability to go off-piste and make wonderful discoveries.

Priest's wigs, the first boomerangs, the first documented use of the colon, undeciphered Nubian scripts. Amazing contrasts between the monumental and the diminutive, absolute power and private affection, the idealised and the naturalistic.

Egypt has always promoted the long view and, looking at the same forms repeated over centuries, in different states of repair is like watching stop-frame renditions of the effects of time.

Patience, artistry it must be a wonderful place to sketch and, above all, a delight in life in all its physical forms, the Egyptian Museum perfectly bears out Florence Nightingale's famous quote,

              "One wonders that people come back from Egypt and live lives as they did before."
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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