Japan falls under pharaohs' spell

Nevine El-Aref , Sunday 22 Jan 2012

Japan welcomes Tutankhamen for first time since 1965


Tutankhamen reaches Japan for the first time in 46 years this week on the last leg of a ten stop tour that began in Switzerland in 2004 and passed through Germany, France, England and several US states.

Japan last fell under the spell of Tutankhamen in 1965 when parts of the priceless collection were exhibited in Tokyo. This time the exhibition will take place in the southern city of Osaka.

During the inauguration ceremony on Wednesday, Japan celebrated the arrival of the collection and the 150th anniversary of the first Samurai delegation to Egypt.

Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim described the exhibition as an expression the amity between Egypt and Japan, and a message that Egypt is safe and open for business.

Japanese Minister of Culture Masaharu Nakagawa said Japan and Egypt are both passing through transitional periods following the January 25 Revolution and the destructive earthquake that hit Japan last year.

“The Tutankhamen exhibition is an important display of the friendship between Japan and Egypt, a relationship that will strengthen further with more collaboration and cooperation,” said Nakagawa.

On the fringe of the exhibition Ibrahim met with Japanese officials to discuss the $300 million soft loan offered by the Japanese government for the construction of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking the Giza plateau and scheduled to open in 2015.

“Tutankhamen and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs exhibition contains 122 objects, 50 of which belong to the Tutankhamen collection.  The objects on show relate to one of the most interesting and perplexing eras of ancient Egyptian history – the period before and during Tutankhamen's reign.

Each section of the exhibition focuses on a specific theme, such as daily life in ancient Egypt, religion, death, burial customs, the afterlife, and the Tutankhamen collection.

The Tutankhamen section includes five objects found when Howard Carter discovered the pharaoh's tomb in 1922. The room also includes visual effects depicting where certain objects were found on Tutankhamen's body and where they were positioned when the coffin was opened.

All the treasures on show are between 3,300 and 3,500 years old.

The objects will remain in Osaka for six months before returning to the Egyptian museum in Tahrir Square.

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