From 16 June 2016 to 10 January 2017, the Manege of the Small Hermitage will be the setting for the exhibition “Nefertari and the Valley of the Queens. From the Museo Egizio, Turin” that has been organized by the State Hermitage and the Museo Egizio – the Egyptian Museum – in Turin with the support of the Lavazza company
The exhibition is taking place within the framework of the Hermitage–Italy Foundation projects through the agency of Villaggio Globale International.
The Museo Egizio is known for having one of the most important collections of Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt itself. The display is made up of five sections and includes 255 artefacts and photographs taken in the field that make it possible for visitors to picture the opening of the tomb of Queen Nefertari.
The formation of the collection of the Museo Egizio in Turin was the result of two events: the acquisition of the first Drovetti in 1824 by Charles Felix, Duke of Savoy and King of Sardinia, and the excavations conducted by the museum’s director, Ernesto Schiaparelli, in the early 20th century.
The collection assembled by Bernardino Michele Maria Drovetti was the source of most of the largest objects (statues and sarcophagi), as well as a large number of stelas, grave goods and an extremely rich range of papyruses, mainly from the region of Thebes.
The basis of the exhibition “Nefertari and the Valley of the Queens. From the Museo Egizio, Turin” is Theban materials acquired by Drovetti and Schiaparelli. The key figure of the exhibition, Queen Nefertari, is presented in the context of the Valley of the Queens, where Schiaparelli discovered her burial place.
The display begins with a section devoted to Nefertari, the Great Royal Spouse of Ramesses II who was considered the living embodiment of the goddess Hathor, the wife of the sun-god. Monumental statues from ancient Thebes illustrate the functions of the king, who was not just ruler of the country, but also the intermediary between the people and the gods, and of his consort. Many items in this part of the exhibition illustrate the fusion of Nefertari’s image with a number of goddesses.
Some rare finds featured in the exhibition – a variety of decorative items, fragments of musical instruments, a wooden headrest to support the base of the skull when sleeping, vessels and bowls – give an idea of conditions in which the royal family and the nobility lived.
A separate part of the display is devoted to the labourers and craftsmen who were engaged in cutting out and decorating the majestic rock tombs of the kings and queens of Ancient Egypt in the New Kingdom. Finds from the settlement inhabited by craftsmen and artists in a hollow between the Theban mountains and the Qurnet Murai hill, at a site now known as Deir el-Medina, make up an important component of the Museo Egizio’s stocks. The daily existence and beliefs of the ordinary people of Ancient Egypt are covered in sections devoted to the labours, life and death of the craftsmen of Deir el-Medina.
The display is supplemented by richly illustrated funerary papyruses from the Drovetti collection that probably also come from the Theban necropolis. These papyruses are of the same age as the late sarcophagi and carry chapters from the Book of the Dead (a collection of utterances that enable the deceased to pass safely through the next world and unite with Osiris and the souls of the blessed) and the Amduat, an important funerary text that describes the nocturnal journey of the Sun and his victory over all the dangers. The deceased, identified with the Sun during this journey, overcomes his or her enemies and becomes immortal like the god Ra.
A separate entrance for the exhibition visitors will be provided on Tuesday and Saturdays from 18.15 till 21.00 through the Small Hermitage, from Shuvalovsky Proezd (37 Millionnaya Street).
Tickets cost — 200 rubles for all visitors.