Ramses II is an egotistical pharaoh, as our tour guide Eman pointed out, a ruler who might think his statue the most important of the more than 500,000 exhibits in Cairo’s Egyptian Museum. But that can’t happen here. We will let Ramses the Great lead us through our continuing Egyptian journey. But ignoring what else is in the museum could be seen as bowing down to Ramses. That’s something we don’t want to do since so many people who did never got back up.
The museum offers much more — more than you can see in a day, week or years. There’s the room set aside for items found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 (photography prohibited in that room). But Tut’s chair/throne is open for viewing (see below). More statues of other pharaohs and ancient Egyptian gods. Mummies, of course, and my favorite: The 52-foot long papyrus scroll of the Book of the Dead, the instructions a dead person needs to get to his second life. The scroll shows my slavery to the printed page, but the images from the more than 2,000-year-old document are as clear as something that came off my printer seconds ago. I could not get far enough away or have a wide enough lens to take in the whole scroll displayed on a museum wall. But here are photos of illustrations and the hieroglyphics:
Below are King Tut’s throne made of wood covered with gold and silver, ornamented with semi precious stones and colored glass. Lions’ heads protect the seat while the arms take the form of winged serpents wearing the double crown of Egypt (Lower and Upper) and guarding the names of the king. Found in Tut’s tomb in 1922.
The most famous bust of Nefertiti (1370 – c. 1330 BC) has been hauled off to Berlin, but the Cairo museum has several representations of the royal wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten, Tut’s father.
This statue of King Khafre (2558 – 2532 BC), below, was found at Giza, where the Great Pyramid sits. The second largest pyramid there was built by Khafre. The falcon god Horus sits behind Khafre’s head, providing protection and uniting earthly king with god.
Below is King Djoser (2667 – 2648 BC) who was buried in Egypt’s first pyramid, the world’s oldest monumental stone building.
The mummy below is that of either Yuya or Thuya, and shame on me for not marking down which one it is. Yuya was husband to Thuya (1390 – 1352 BC). They are the great grandparents of King Tut.
Hatshepsut (1473 – 1458 BC), Egypt’s most famous ancient queen. What about Cleopatra? She brought the Egyptian rule to an end; Hatshepsut kept it alive during her 20-year reign and built several temples. Note the beard. She portrayed herself in statues and paintings with a male body and false beard.