VIENNA is not the only city recently conquered by Ancient Egyptians. Just as the Kunsthistorisches Museum in the Austrian capital is offering an exclusive exhibition concerning Tutankhamun, the Slovak National Museum (SNM) in Bratislava is holding its own impressive display about the era of the pharaohs.
The fact that 17,000 visitors have already seen the exhibition proves that the museum management made the right decision to hold the exhibit.
The display, entitled Thebes, the City of Gods and Pharaohs, shows the evolution of Thebes (now Luxor), one of the most significant cultural and religious centers of the ancient world. Visitors can view 17 panels in 13 rooms to learn more about Thebes, which is now known for the nearby Valley of the Kings. Each of the rooms presents one period in the city’s history.
“The emphasis is on the period of the New Kingdom, when Thebes was at its prime,” Pavel Onderka from the National Museum in Prague, a co-organiser of the exhibition, said while introducing it.
Of the more than 200 artefacts that the SNM collected from museums in the Czech Republic, Germany and Slovakia, one of the most impressive is a gilded coffin with the mummy of Kenamon.
Kenamon lived in the late 1500s BC, when he served as a seal-bearer, which is comparable to a modern-day finance minister, Onderka said.
The coffin arrived in Bratislava from Prague’s Náprstek Museum of Asian, African and American Cultures.
“This is a Czech national cultural monument and this is the first time it has left the Czech Republic,” Onderka said.
The coffin was a gift from Egyptian King Muhammad Ali to Prince Metternich of Austria in 1828. At that time, such “small gifts” were a standard means of keeping good diplomatic relations.
The coffin and mummy are the most prominent representation of Egypt in the Czech and Slovak republics.
As well as Kenamon, visitors can see a coffin with the mummy of Hereret, an Egyptian woman. There is also a relief depicting Nefertiti, considered by many to be the most beautiful woman of Ancient Egypt, as well as original items from the tombs of famous pharaohs.
The exhibition is a project by Pavel Onderka and Jana Mynářová, who premiered it in Prague last year.
The display lasts until August 31
Slovak National Museum, Žižkova 16, Bratislava
Tel: 02/5920-7212, 02/5934-9141