Thursday, July 12, 2012

Exhibition: Journey Through the Afterlife: Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead in Japan

The Japan Times Online (C.B. Liddell)

All exhibitions focusing on ancient Egypt (3100-332 B.C.) smell of the tomb to some degree, simply because the best artifacts have been recovered from the graves — this is true of "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," an exhibition currently being held at the Osaka Tempozan Exhibition Gallery and which comes to the Ueno Royal Museum on Aug. 4. According to professor Jiro Kondo, a director of the Institute of Egyptology at Waseda University and the curator for the "Book of the Dead" exhibition here, such shows usually follow a set pattern.

"Every two or three years in Japan we have some sort of ancient Egyptian exhibition," Kondo says. "The focus is on golden objects and jewelry rather than a theme, leading Japanese people to think ancient Egyptian civilization is gold, mummies and jewelry. But this time, we are following the British Museum exhibition and taking a deeper look at the beliefs related to the afterlife."

The exhibition features around 80 objects sourced from a show held in autumn 2010 at the British Museum, with the centerpiece being the Greenfield Papyrus. This remarkable scroll, made for a high-ranking priestess named Nestanebtasheru in 930 B.C., contains a richly illustrated version of the Book of the Dead, an ancient Egyptian funerary text that is a rich source of information about the civilization.

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