The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) has received the third shrine belonging to the Pharaoh Tutankhamun from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
The arrival comes a month after the museum received the Pharaoh’s fourth shrine, which has since been placed in its display case in the hall dedicated to the Boy King’s treasures.
Preparations will commence for its display alongside other artefacts belonging to Tutankhamun in the halls devoted to him.
Atef Miftah, General Supervisor of the GEM and the surrounding area, said that the transfer was carried out amid tight security measures provided by the Tourism and Antiquities Police. It took place under the supervision of the restorer and museum curators.
Al-Tayeb Abbas, Assistant Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for Archaeological Affairs at GEM, said that the shrine will undergo restoration work. He added that it is made of gilded wood, and was discovered among Tutankhamun’s treasures in his tomb on Luxor’s West Bank in November 1922.
He explained that it was transferred with the rest of the artefacts to the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, and have been on display since then.
Abbas added that the remaining shrines will be successively transferred, and will be displayed according to the set display scenario in the halls dedicated to the Pharaoh’s treasure.
He said that the halls cover an area of about 7,200 sqm, and are equipped with a state of the art museum display. There is environmental temperature control, humidity, and lighting, in addition to labels with graphics and cards for each artefact.
Moamen Othman, head of the museums sector, confirmed that the transfer of the shrine was carried out according to accurate scientific standards.
He added that the shrine was dismantled into 10 parts using the same manufacturing technique as the Ancient Egyptians. Each part was individually wrapped inside an inner box and another external covering using acidic free materials.
He pointed out that the team from the GEM and the museum in Tahrir Square will assemble the shrine again within the next few days. This will take place inside the display area allocated for it inside the halls featuring the rest of Tutankhamun’s treasures.
For his part, Issa Zidan, Director General of Executive Affairs for Restoration and Transfer of Antiquities at the GEM, said that before the transfer, the shrine was examined and a detailed report was made to document its preservation status accurately.
The restoration team carried out scientific and archaeological documentation of the shrine using the latest types of photographic and video cameras. IR imaging, as well as XRF scanning and X Ray Radiography, were done to identify the locations of the metal and wood tongues and the docks of the shrine.
He said that this helps the working team to accurately develop a plan to dismantle the shrine safely and scientifically.
Sabah Abdel Razek, Director General of the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, said that the third shrine is 3.40 metres in length, 1.92 metres in width, and 2.15 metres in height. It weighs about 1,142 kg, and features a frieze on the walls. It also features a double door closed with a royal seal.
The shrine consists of a ceiling decorated with a winged sun disk and eight birds with the titles of the king placed under them, and on the inside there are inscriptions on the ceiling. In addition to this, the shrine contains a gate with inscriptions and texts from the Book of the Dead and decorated on the inside. At the top of the door is a winged sun disk surrounded on the right and left side by a group of signs.
The shrine includes sides decorated with inscriptions from the Book of the Emmy Duat, and the back contains engraved scenes from the Book of the Dead.