Walk like an Egyptian

10 February 2012......  A limestone stella of Tjetji on show at the Leeds Museum for the Pharaoh: King of Egypt exhibition.
10 February 2012...... A limestone stella of Tjetji on show at the Leeds Museum for the Pharaoh: King of Egypt exhibition.

THE secrets of the pharaohs will be unravelled when visitors are transported back to ancient Egypt during at exhibition in Leeds.

More than 130 historical artefacts will be on display during Leeds City Museum’s Pharoah: King of Egypt display, which opened last week and runs until June 17.

The exhibition – developed by the British Museum in partnership with the Great North Museum – explores the lives of the pharaohs and their role as head of state, chief priest and army commanders through objects and artefacts spanning over 3,000 years.

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, said: “Ancient Egypt holds an enduring fascination and this really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see such an extraordinary Egyptian collection in Leeds City Museum.

“We are delighted to be able to work with Leeds in delivering this exhibition.”

Themes examined in the exhibition 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.

Among the eye-catching objects on display is a standing wooden tomb guardian representing the figure of Pharaoh Ramses I, who was hugely influential despite a short-lived rule from 1295-1294 BC.

Tomb guardian statues were placed on either side of doors to protect the chambers beyond, and this one was found in the tomb of Ramses I in the Valley of the Kings in Thebes.

Other striking objects on display include a granite statue of Ramses I’s grandson Ramses II, who ruled from 1279-1213 BC, and a 3,000-year-old wooden bed dated 1126-1069BC from the Tomb of Pharaoh Ramses IX complete with an intricate design featuring cobras made of gold sheet metal and ebony as well as silver rings.

Among the writing on display is a notable text from 1295-1186BC which tells the story of Pharaoh Amenemhat telling his son Sesostris how he was attacked in the palace as he slept and warning him from the grave to trust no-one in order to avoid the same fate.

The exhibition is free to enter and features audio-visual and interactive displays as well as family trails.

Visit www.leeds.gov.uk/kingofegypt for more information.