There could be a few cries of I Want My Mummy at The Bowes Museum
this summer, as visitors are taken on an exciting and absorbing trip through Ancient Egypt, in a super new exhibition aimed at families.
Amazing Egyptians, which opened at the Barnard Castle treasure house on Saturday 2 July, explores the customs and traditions surrounding life and death in the land of the Pharaohs, through the use of key objects showing the processes involved in preparing a body for the afterlife.
The exhibition, curated by Education Officer Amy Longstaff, has been set out so as to guide visitors on a journey as viewed through the eyes of an embalmer named Lukman, who tells about the Egyptians belief in more than one God, and the hoops they were convinced they must jump through in an effort to gain a first class ticket to immortality.
One of our aims was to show that even the greatest Pharaohs, who led one of the most advanced nations on earth during their dynastic reigns, believed that they had to appease the Gods to make a successful journey to the afterlife, she said.
Lukman reveals the sometimes gory stories surrounding the way Ancient Egyptians prepared human bodies and animals for mummification, and the grisly details behind the innocent looking canopic jars, used for containing organs removed before the process could begin. On display is the mummy of an embalmed infant, a cat, a fish and a crocodile, funerary amulets and jewellery, plus hieroglyphic plaques called stela.
Also on show are shabti figures, sections from the Ancient Egyptians Book of the Dead, papyri, and a boat to ferry the deceased on their celestial journey. Shabti were initially placed in the tomb to act as a substitute for the body, and inscribed with the name of the deceased, plus a spell to activate them, while the Book of the Dead featured extravagantly illuminated spells for the wealthy as well as lesser spells that the minions hoped would be enough to help them on their journey.