Ramses II, Tutankhamun, Akhenaten and Nefertiti are only a few of the legendary Ancient Egyptians whose acquaintance you can make in the Egyptian Collection. The display runs to more than 300 works which come from an era with a total duration of more than 3,000 years. The extreme length of the era makes it possible to see both the development of Egyptian art and significant works from each period. From monumental sculpture and architectural elements to the world of the many Egyptian gods and the magical hieroglyphs. And of course those scary, yet ever so fascinating mummies.
Egyptian art is idealising and for the entire epoch follows the laid down rules which are recognisably Egyptian. The collection has considerable range, not merely in terms of chronology but also in the representations of, first and foremost, Egyptian pharaohs, officials, scribes and gods. This gives us a unique insight into Ancient Egypt and the well-established traditions of its art. Among the most important works we can name the colossal dyad of Ramses II and the god Ptah, the serious-looking Treasury Master Gebu, the god Anubis with the head of a jackal, as well as the iconic black head of a king which represents Pharaoh Amenemhat.
The Ancient Egyptians are best known for their cult of the dead, and Glyptoteket’s collection sheds light on this through the architecture of tombs and finds from these. The funerary equipment of official Gemni-e-hat is complete, including both his coffin and so-called tomb models, which are reminiscent of doll’s houses. In the mummy basement are Egyptian mummies, coffins with hieroglyph inscriptions and images from the underworld as well as life-like mummy portraits dating from Egypt’s Roman Period. To reach the mummies Glyptoteket chose to recreate the descent into an Egyptian tomb. This produces a unique sense of being down in the underworld and close to the eternal after-life. On ascending afterwards it is with the Egyptian cult of the dead under one’s skin.
It is possible to experience a more chronological approach to Ancient Egypt via figures of gods and mortals, stelæ and other small art objects. They provide an overview of the development of art and society through the several millennia-long period of their existence. Among the principal works, mention must be made of the unique collection of objects from the Amarna Period which saw the reigns of Akhenaten, Nefertiti and Tutankhamun. One of the oldest objects in the museum is also to be found in the Egyptian Collection – the 5,000 year-old sculpture of a hippopotamus.