- Wooden bed with gold and silver decoration
1126 - 1069 BC, Tomb of Pharaoh Ramses IX, Valley of the Kings, Thebes, Egypt
- Bronze figurine of a royal consort
1069 - 656 BC, Egypt
- Papyrus with hieratic writing from the Teaching of Amenemhat
A 3,000-year-old bed and the account of an early royal assassination are just two of the standout objects from a major new exhibition on ancient Egypt which will be on display at Leeds City Museum from next week.
The touring exhibition entitled ‘Pharaoh: King of Egypt’ featuring over 130 objects from the British Museum will be on show from Saturday 11 February to Sunday 17 June 2012 at the museum off Millennium Square with admission being free.
The display will explore the lives of the Pharaohs and their role as head of state, chief priest and commander of the army. Themes to be examined include the realities of ruling a complex society and dealing with issues such as international diplomacy, tomb-robbing, civil war and foreigners on the throne.
And among the items sure to catch the eye of visitors will be a wooden bed dated 1126- 1069BC from the Tomb of Pharaoh Ramses IX found in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes. Originally thought to be the remains of a royal throne when they were first presented to the British Museum in 1887, they were correctly reassembled as a bed complete with fine, darkwood legs carved into a bovine form while the intricate design also includes cobras made of gold sheet metal and ebony as well as silver rings.
For those more of a murder-mystery slant, there is also a text from 1295-1186BC which tells the chilling tale of how Pharaoh Amenemhat met his demise. Known as 'The Teaching of Amenemhat', the story is the king's account of how he was attacked in the palace as he slept when his son the crown prince Sesostris was not with him. The text, which was regarded as such a classic in ancient Egypt it was still being copied over seven-and-a-half centuries later, was seen as a warning from the dead king to his successor to trust no-one to ensure he would not suffer the same fate.
Fashionistas are also catered for with an example of how royalty dressed in Egypt in 1069-656BC. A bronze figurine of a royal consort or queen wears a traditional tight-fitting dress, and possibly a beaded overskirt. The woman's long wig is studded with tiny strips of metal, which represent gold or silver rings, threaded on the tresses. On her wig is a cap in the form of a vulture with wings outspread beside her face. Unfortunately the queen’s face which was likely to have been covered with sheet gold has been all but lost due to damage, presumed to be when the gold was pried off by thieves eager to sell the metal.
Developed by the British Museum in partnership with the Great North Museum, the exhibition shows objects and artefacts spanning over 3,000 years of history including stunning palace decorations, sculpture, jewellery and papyri.
The exhibition will be free to enter and will feature audio-visual displays, interactives and family trails. It will also be the first major special exhibition of its type to be on display in the museum’s central Leeds Arena.
The exhibition will also complement the famous ‘Leeds Mummy’ Nesyamun, who is on permanent display in the ‘Ancient Worlds’ section of the museum.
Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:
“We are all getting really excited now as the days tick down to this fantastic exhibition opening in Leeds City Museum. The items to be on display are amazing and each one has its own unique and fascinating story attached so we look forward to seeing people flock to see them for themselves from next week.”
Director of the British Museum Neil MacGregor said:
“Leeds City Museum is the home of some fantastic treasures, including a wonderful collection from the ancient world. We are delighted that this wonderful exhibition exploring the lives of the pharaohs will be shown at the heart of the museum. The exhibition has attracted huge crowds at its first two venues and I’m sure the same will happen in Leeds.”
For the latest information visit www.leeds.gov.uk/kingofegypt or to find out more about Leeds City Museum, visit the website at www.leeds.gov.uk/citymuseum/
Notes to editors:
• Pharaoh: King of Egypt is supported through the generosity of the Dorset Foundation.
• The tour is organised through the British Museum’s Partnership UK scheme. Partnership UK is the strategic framework for the British Museum’s programme of engagement with audiences throughout the country.
• The British Museum recently worked with Leeds Museums at Lotherton Hall with the exhibition ‘Warriors of the Plains’ in summer 2011.
• As well as Leeds City Museum, the exhibition is also visiting: Great North Museum: Hancock, Dorset County Museum, Dorchester; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery; Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow; Bristol Museum and Art Gallery.
• The Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan at the British Museum houses the largest collection of Egyptian objects outside Egypt, which illustrate every aspect of the cultures of the Nile Valley, from the Neolithic period (about 10,000 BC) until the twelfth century AD.
For further information on the British Museum please contact:
Esme Wilson - firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7323 8394.
For media enquiries please contact:
Senior communications officer,
Leeds City Council, Tel 0113 247 5472