Our trip to Turin Italy was amazing. Even though we didn’t have much time there, we tried to see and do as much as we could. The main reason we went was to see the Museo de Egizie and try some local food 🙂 Today’s post is about the museum, but I also wanted to share a few things that left some lasting impressions. First was the incredible Italian Alps. We were in the south of France and drove through these to get to Turin. It was one of the most gorgeous things I had seen in quite a while. So glad we decided to drive to Turn. The next thing was the mouthwatering Gnocchi I had for dinner. Sadly, I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was delicious. However, the thing that left the biggest impression was the driving. Oh my goodness, it was insane. We just got back from New York and Turin was even worse, lol. I literally put my life in Gene’s hands. Even with the scary driving, we had a very nice time in Turin.
Other than the Cairo Museum in Egypt, the Museo de Egizie is the only museum dedicated solely to Egyptian art and culture. Today the museum’s collections were enlarged by the excavations conducted in Egypt by the Museum’s archaeological mission between 1900 and 1935 (a period when finds were divided between the excavators and Egypt). With that said, here is a little more history on the museum and it’s artifacts. The first object having an association with Egypt to arrive in Turin was the Mensa Isiaca in 1630, an altar table in imitation of Egyptian style. This exotic piece inspired King Charles Emmanuel III to commission botanist Vitaliano Donati to travel to Egypt in 1753 and acquire items from its past. Donati returned with 300 pieces recovered from Karnak and Coptos, which became the nucleus of the Turin collection.
In 1824, King Charles Felix acquired the material from the Drovetti collection (5,268 pieces, including 100 statues, 170 papyri, stelae, mummies, and other items), that the French General Consul, Bernardino Drovetti, had built during his stay in Egypt. In the same year, Jean-François Champollion used the huge Turin collection of papyri to test his breakthroughs in deciphering the hieroglyphic writing. The time Champollion spent in Turin studying the texts is also the origin of a legend about the mysterious disappearance of the “Papiro Regio”, that was only later found and of which some portions are still unavailable. In 1950 a parapsychologist was contacted to pinpoint them, to no avail.
In 1833, the collection of Piedmontese Giuseppe Sossio (over 1,200 pieces) was added to the Egyptian Museum. The collection was complemented and completed by the finds of Egyptologist Ernesto Schiaparelli, during his excavation campaigns between 1900 and 1920, further filled out the collection. Its last major acquisition was the small temple of Ellesiya, which the Egyptian government presented to Italy for her assistance during the Nubianmonument salvage campaign in the 1960s. Through all these years, the Egyptian collection has always been in Turin, in the building designed for the purpose of housing it, in Via Accademia delle Scienze 6. Only during the Second World War was some of the material moved to the town of Agliè. The museum became an experiment of the Italian government in privatization of the nation’s museums when the Fondazione Museo delle Antichità Egizie was officially established at the end of 2004. Here is a list of some of the more notable items of interest in the Museo de Egizie:
- Assemblea dei Re(Kings Assembly) a term originally indicating a collection of statues representing all the kings of the New Kingdom.
- Temple of Tuthmosi III
- Sarcophagi, mummies and books of the dead originally belonging to the Drovetti collection.
- A painting on canvasdated at about 3500 BC (found in 1931)
- Funerary paraphernalia from the Tomba di Ignoti(Tomb of Unknown) from the Old Kingdom
- Tomb of Kha and of Merit, found intact by Schiaparelli and transferred in toto in the museum
- Papyrus collection room, originally collected by Drovetti and later used by Champollion during his studies for the decoding of the hieroglyphics.
- Mensa Isiaca(The Table of Isis)
- Tomba Dipinta(The Painted Tomb) usually closed to the public.
- The Turin King List(or Turin Royal Canon)
The Museo de Egizie is truly an amazing museum and I was shocked at what a marvel we found. We hadn’t even heard of it until some people mentioned it while we were sharing a few drinks in Monaco. We had talked about taking a few days to go to Italy, but had decided where in Italy. This museum was what pushed Turin to the top of the list. If you are in the area, it is definitely a jewel that you wouldn’t want to miss.
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