Rare relics and mummies spark culture exchange
Spanish museum brings Egyptian art to Beijing
Published: Apr 18, 2023 10:43 PM
Promotional material for <em>Meet Egypt: The Exhibition of Rare Relics and Mummies</em> at Beijing's Meet You Museum Photo: Courtesy of Meet You Museum

Promotional material for Meet Egypt: The Exhibition of Rare Relics and Mummies at Beijing's Meet You Museum Photo: Courtesy of Meet You Museum

Life was loved so much in the culture of Pharaonic Egypt that its rulers wanted to live forever. For millennia, generation after generation, the Egyptians spared no effort to guarantee eternity: tombs, myths, rites, mummies, tomb goods... 

Even when it comes to modern times, the myths and magic that surround mummies, ceremonies and more, still attract millions of visitors around the world, enticing them to learn more about Egyptian culture through means like exhibitions. 

A total of 114 items including a gold coffined mummy, coffin lids, animal mummy masks as well as Egyptian statues, jewelry and murals that cover all aspects of ancient Egyptian life are on display at the new show Meet Egypt: The Exhibition of Rare Relics and Mummies at Beijing's Meet You Museum. 

The show, the latest collaboration between the museum and the Egyptian Museum of Barcelona, includes four sections - The Myth of the God Osiris, The House of Eternity: the Cult Chapel, Imagination of the Afterlife and The Gifts of the Nile - each of which allows people to understand the unique cultural and social life of ancient Egyptians from different perspectives.

Photo: Xu Liuliu

Photo: Xu Liuliu/GT

"It is not just a simple exhibition, but an important part of cultural exchanges between China and Spain," Wang Chunchen, president of the Meet You Museum and a professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts [CAFA], told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

"Through the collection at the Egyptian Museum of Barcelona, we have witnessed a dialogue between two ancient civilizations that travels across time and space."

The year 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Spain, as such a series of cultural events will take place to mark the important moment. 

The 2023 China-Spain Year of Culture and Tourism kicked off on March 27 with a concert at Spain's National Auditorium of Music in Madrid. An important part of the celebration was an exhibition in Spain featuring 124 Chinese cultural relics, including 10 life-size Terracotta Warriors.  

In his speech at the opening ceremony, Chinese Minister of Culture and Tourism Hu Heping said that the Heritage of Chinese Qin and Han Civilizations exhibition is a practical measure to continue the two nation's traditional friendship and deepen mutual learning among civilizations. 

Photo: Xu Liuliu

Photo: Xu Liuliu/GT

In China, Wang revealed that the CAFA Museum in Beijing is expecting to see more exhibitions about Spanish artists as the Meet You Museum has hosted exhibitions about Spanish artists Pablo Picasso and Dali. 

Joaquin Clos Casellas, lifetime chairman of the Jordi Clos Private Archaeological Foundation of Egyptian Museum of Barcelona, said that special exhibitions like The Exhibition of Rare Relics and Mummies will "serve as a bridge" and lay a solid foundation for in-depth exchanges between Spanish and Chinese cultural institutions. 

The highlight of the exhibition is a gilded mummy coffin belonging to an unknown woman wrapped in gold leaf linen. 

"The Beijing trip marks its first overseas tour outside the museum," said Luis Manuel Gonzalvez, curator of the Egyptian Museum of Barcelona. 

When it was first excavated, it was partially destroyed. After being repaired by professional cultural relic restorers, the original appearance of the coffin was restored.

The exhibition is set to run until July 9.