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'Animals and Pharaohs: The animal kingdom in Ancient Egypt' at the Caixa Forum, Madrid

Egyptian pharaohs' passion for animals, their representation as divinities and use in sarcophagi are at the center of an exhibition inaugurated in the Spanish capital on Tuesday. 'Animals and Pharaohs: The animal kingdom in the Ancient Egypt' will be at the CaixaForum until August 23. It was organized by the Louvre Museum and the La Caixa foundation and was first exhibited in Paris.

'Animals and Pharaohs: The animal kingdom in Ancient Egypt' at the Caixa Forum, Madrid
There are 430 exhibition pieces included in the show, most of which restored specifically for the occasion and which bear witness to the multiple and omnipresent representations of fauna in ancient Egypt's artistic production.

The sphinxes, statues, cups and vases, watercolors and wall paintings, furniture, tables jewels, chests, amulets and sarcophagi included have mostly come from the Louvre Museum, which has one of the most important collections of Egyptian cultural artifacts thanks to the Napoleonic campaigns.

There are also loans from the Monserrat Catalan museums, the Egyptian and natural sciences museums in Barcelona, Madrid's National Museum of Natural Sciences CSIC and Paris's Bibliotheque Centrale des Musees Nationaux.

One of the most impressive works on display is the one at the end of the exhibition itinerary: a group of sculptures portraying baboons that had constituted the base of an obelisk of the Luxor temple, alongside statues of the Royal Sphinx.

There are also 14 animal mummies that - given the important role that had in funeral rituals - were embalmed using three different techniques of animal mummification. Analyses have shown that they contain animal innards or at least bones and feathers, in the case of ibis mummies.

Considered earthly manifestations of the divine, the animals were worshiped and were a recurring element in codified, written and represented language, placed on a 'pedestal' of religious thought in ancient Egyptian civilization. They were also an endless source of inspiration and origin of vast, variegated artistic production.

The exhibition is divided into nine parts that describe the links between people and animals that were companions, means of transportation and a representation of the divine both in daily life and in funerary, religious and civil rituals of the ancient Egyptians.

Source: ANSAmed [April 01, 2015]

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