|Fig. 1: W688 recently reunited with his missing leg and base|
On Wednesday, the Egypt Centre was pleased to welcome Phil Parkes (Reader in Conservation at Cardiff University) and Ashley Lingle Meeklah (lead conservator on the project), who brought twenty students from Cardiff University for a handling session. After a tour of the stores, the students were divided into groups in order to adequately examine some of our objects. I decided to select objects in need of conservation treatment in order to challenge the students (fig. 2). This worked really well and it was great to hear their proposals for treating the objects. In the evening, Phil delivered an excellent lecture to the Friends of the Egypt Centre group, highlighting several of the museum’s objects that have previously been worked on at Cardiff. The following day, thirteen boxes were transported to Cardiff University for Ashley to start work on the project (fig. 3).
|Fig. 2: Students examining some cartonnage|
|Fig. 3: Ashley with the recently delivered boxes of objects|
Aside from the wooden funerary figures mentioned above and in the blog post from last week, six other objects from the Provisions case were selected. This includes two painted reliefs, both from the collection of Robert de Rustafjaell sold in 1906. W1377 depicts an unidentified male figure sniffing a closed lotus blossom while seated before a large table of offerings. Red gridlines are also visible on the relief, which was set into a matrix of plaster of Paris sometime prior to its sale in 1906. Over the years, this plaster has started to deteriorate and become loose, with small flakes now trapped between the relief and the glass frame (fig. 4). The planned conservation work will consolidate the plaster, in addition to removing any specks of modern plaster located on the surface of the painted relief.
|Fig. 4: Painted relief (W1377)|
Two painted wooden stelae from Edfu, both dating to the Ptolemaic Period, have also been sent for conservation. W1041, which was purchased in 1922 from the collection of the Reverend William MacGregor (lot 1588), belongs to a priest of Edfu named Pasherienimhotep. The stela is decorated on two sides, with the front divided into four registers (fig. 5). The top register (lunette) on the front face depicts two recumbent jackals flanking a djed-pillar, with the winged disc of Behdet above. The second register shows the deceased on a lion bier with Anubis—flanked by Isis, Nephthys, and the Four Sons of Horus—performing the mummification. Additionally, Pasherienimhotep is shown on the far right dressed as a Sem-priest. The third register contains a long inscription requesting that the gods grant the ka of the deceased various food provisions in the afterlife. Part of this inscription is currently concealed by a layer of mud (upper left side), which will be mechanically removed as part of the conservation project. On the bottom register, two recumbent jackals flank a djed-pillar (Osiris). The back of the stela is divided into three registers: a winged disc at the top, Isis and Nephthys adoring Osiris in the centre, and tyet-symbols flanking a djed-pillar at the bottom.
|Fig. 5: Stela of Pasherienimhotep (W1041)|
The Egypt Centre has had strong links with the conservation department of Cardiff University, which date back to at least 1978. Over 150 objects have previously been treated at Cardiff, with a large batch transferred late last year. We are extremely grateful to the Association of Independent Museums and the Pilgrim Trust for awarding us the grant. The display case is one of our most popular exhibits, with our “food and provisions” and “survival in the afterlife” activity featuring heavily in our educational programme. Our volunteers are already looking forward to the objects returning to the Egypt Centre following the completion of the conservation work in April!
Sotheby, Wilkinson, & Hodge (1906) Catalogue of the collection of Egyptian antiquities, formed in Egypt by R. De Rustafjaell, which will be sold by auction by Messrs. Sotheby, Wilkinson and Hodge...19th December, 1906 and two following days... London: Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge.
——— (1922) Catalogue of the MacGregor collection of Egyptian antiquities. London: Davy.