Saturday, June 01, 2013

A visit to Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb

On a lovely afternoon in May 2013, I visited the exhibition Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb. This exhibition held at the ArtScience Museum showcases six mummies, including those of two animals (the cat and the ibis). The exhibition is presented through the collaboration of the British Museum and the ArtScience Museum.

The replica of the significant Rosetta Stone
As I walked into the exhibition, the replica of the Rosetta Stone reminded me of the Rosetta Stone in the British Museum. The Rosetta Stone is significant to Egyptology. It contains hieroglyphic scripts and holds a valuable key to the decipherment of hieroglyphs.

The mummy Nesperennub and the virtual unwrapping technology
The next part of the exhibition was visually extraordinary. Visitors like myself were presented with a three-dimensional documentary film of the virtual 3-D unwrap of the mummy of Nesperennub, an Egyptian temple priest who lived 3000 years ago. The virtual unwrapping technology allowed experts to see what is inside the mummy of Nesperennub without having to physically unwrap the mummy.

I have found it particularly interesting and well-focused that the storyline of the exhibition centred on Nesperennub and the world of priests. I learnt that Nesperennub was a fan-bearer. This was considered a very significant role because fan-bearer would have the privilege to be close to the Pharaohs.

Another interesting artefact in this exhibition is the reconstructed copy of Nesperennub's head. Stereolithography was used to construct the head. The model of the reconstructed head of Nesperennub was presented with a shaven head. I learnt that it was a common practice for priests from ancient Egyptian to have their heads shaved.

At the end of the exhibition, visitors could see the mummy of Nesperennub. I was in awe to see it. I was particularly fascinated with the elaborate designs that were on the painted cartonnage case.

Ancient Egyptian's beliefs and practices
During my visit to the exhibition, I learnt more about the religious beliefs behind the funeral practices of the ancient Egyptians. The ancient Egyptians believe in life after death. I was intrigued by the process of mummification. In conjunction with the exhibition, there will be complimentary workshops on embalming for ticket holders during the weekends and selected dates in June. I missed the embalming workshops. Nevertheless, I managed to learn that the embalming process would take approximately 70 days to complete.

The Wedjat Eye Amulet was one of the small-sized artefacts that had caught my interest. This amulet is associated with the god, Horus. This is a protective amulet that is believed to have healing and protective powers. As photography was not allowed in the exhibition, I gladly sketched the various artefacts that had caught my interest onto my notebook.

From my sketches, you could probably guess it that other than being interested in the Cat Mummy, I was pretty intrigued by the canopic jars that bore the faces of the the Four sons of Horus, namely Imsety, Hapy, Duamutef and Qebhsenuef. The canopic jars contain the internal organs of the mummy.

Suggestions to enhance our visitor's experience to this exhibition
I strongly recommend visitors to attend the complimentary guided tour. The audio guide that can be rented at a fee of $3 is also a very useful companion that would enrich a visitor's experience to this exhibition.

To enhance the experience, it is also strongly recommended that visitors who visit this exhibition as a family could engage in a specially-designed quest. The quest bags for this activity could be collected at the Activity Quest booth found on the same level as the exhibition galleries. Simply bring along a photo identification card  to rent one of these quest bags.

Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb reminded me of the exhibition Eternal Egypt: Treasures From the British Museum which I had visited at the Asian Civilisations Museum in 1999. That exhibition also presented artefacts from the British Museum's collection. If you ask me, thanks to the spacious size of the gallery spaces of the ArtScience Museum and the interesting storyline behind this exhibition, I prefer Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb. 

Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb
27 Apr - 4 Nov 2013
ArtScience Museum
10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
Opening hours: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. (Last admission at 9.00 p.m.)

Also read:
Finding out mummy's little secrets by Jerome Lim
Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb by Benedicta J. Foo
Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb Uncovered by
Mummy Secrets of the Tomb Exhibition at the ArtScence Museum by
Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb by Laura Freeman


Laura Freeman said...

Thanks for the link back to my blog post.

Alvaro said...

This is cool!