A month after receiving the fourth shrine of the ancient Egyptian golden boy-king Tutankhamun in its special display in the Tutankhamun galleries at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) on the Giza Plateau, the museum has now also received the king’s third shrine from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, reports Nevine El-Aref.
The shrine is carved in gilded wood and was discovered in November 1922 among the treasured collection of Tutankhamun inside his tomb in the Valley of the Kings on Luxor’s west bank. The transfer was carried out amid security measures by the Tourism and Antiquities Police under the supervision of restorers and museum curators.
Assistant Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for archaeological affairs Al-Tayeb Abbas said the shrine would undergo restoration inside the museum, adding that the rest of the king’s shrines would be transferred to be displayed according to the exhibition scenario in the 7,200 square-metre galleries dedicated to the king’s treasures.
These are equipped with state-of-the-art display technology with the environmental control of temperature, humidity, and lighting, in addition to labels with graphics and explanatory cards for each piece.
Director of the restoration and transfer of antiquities at the GEM Eissa Zidan said that prior to the transfer the shrine had been carefully examined and a detailed report made to document its condition. The transfer was carried out according to the highest scientific standards, he said, with the shrine being dismantled into ten parts using the same techniques that the ancient Egyptians had used.
Each part was individually wrapped inside an inner box and another external box using acid-free materials. The shrine will now be reassembled to be put on display.
Sabah Abdel-Razek, director of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, explained that the length of the third shrine is 3.4 metres, the width is 1.92 metres, and the height is 2.15 metres. It weighs about 1,142 kilogrammes. The walls end at the top with a frieze, and it has a double door closed with a royal seal.
The shrine’s ceiling is decorated with a winged sun disk and eight birds with the titles of the king placed under it. On the inside there are inscriptions and texts from the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 22 April, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly