“ETERNAL LIFE – EXPLORING ANCIENT EGYPT” EXHIBITION
Ancient Egyptian society in the Nile valley was one of the oldest civilizations in the world. The fertile Nile flood plain gave the inhabitants the opportunity to develop a settled agricultural economy and a sophisticated, centralized society, which became a cornerstone in the history of human civilization.
Ancient Egypt holds an enduring fascination for people around the world. Early investigation of Egyptian mummies required them to be unwrapped, which might lead to certain damage to the bodies. However, the advent of sophisticated imaging techniques has virtually eliminated the need to disturb their coverings. This exhibition employed the latest computerized tomography (CT) scanning technology to study Egyptian mummies in the British Museum’s collection, allowing researchers to gain new insights into the funerary traditions in the Nile valley. These findings have inspired further research, which in turn, has revealed more about life in ancient Egypt.
Lord Edwin E. Hitti, President of The Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry celebrated yet another another milestone in heritage and cultural exchanges.
This exhibition was solely sponsored by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, jointly presented by Leisure and Cultural Services Department and The Trustees of the British Museum, and jointly organized by Hong Kong Science Museum and The British Museum. It introduced six Egyptian mummies between 3,000 and 1,800 years old. Along with the mummy displays and around 200 invaluable objects, digital interpretation of the mummies demonstrates how non-invasive CT allows archaeologists and other specialists to determine the age and gender of the mummified bodies, and to learn more about the diet, state of health, mummification process and religious practices of the ancient Egyptians. In order to further enhance the visitor experience and provide an in-depth understanding of the meaning of the afterlife in ancient Egyptian society, the Hong Kong Science Museum designed and developed a multimedia program and a series of interactive exhibits using the latest technologies, such as 3D projection mapping, virtual reality and holograms, to decipher the myths behind the statues and symbols, and to comprehensively illustrate the technological development of ancient Egypt.
“THE WONDERS OF ANCIENT MESOPOTAMIA” EXHIBITION
More than 170 Mesopotamian artifacts, including wall reliefs, jewelry and tablets, go on display at the Museum of History today, in the first exhibition of its kind in Hong Kong.
“The Wonders of Ancient Mesopotamia” – which explores the period from 3,500 BC to 539 BC of the area that today includes parts of Iraq, Syria and Turkey – showcases objects from the British Museum’s Middle East Department. It is the first time Hong Kong has held an exhibition of Mesopotamian artifacts.
The Museum of History and Jockey Club each contributed half the HK$13.8 million cost of the exhibition, which was jointly organised by the Museum of History and the British Museum. Among the artifacts, visitors will find cuneiform scripts – the earliest known form of writing – gold jewelry, cylinder seals used for legal and commercial purposes, spearheads, relief panels and palace furnishings of bronze and ivory. There are fragments from the library of Assyrian King Ashurbanipal, who was unusually literate and scholarly. His is the oldest surviving royal library.
The exhibition showcased Mesopotamia’s innovations including the method of counting and measurement which led to the system of dividing hours and minutes into 60.
“The Mesopotamian civilisation had such a big influence on the arts, urban life, astrology, the system of telling time and more,” Museum of History chief curator Susanna Siu Lai-kuen said. “The innovations of Mesopotamia are very relevant to our lives today. We thought it was important to bring this to the public.”
Sarah Collins, curator of the British Museum’s Middle East Department, said Mesopotamia was an advanced civilization. “In their administration, legal affairs, politics and religion, they were very well-organised,” she said. Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, British Museum deputy director Andrew Burnett, British Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau Caroline Wilson and Director of Leisure and Cultural Services Betty Fung Ching Suk-yee attended the exhibition’s launch.
Lord Edwin E. Hitti, President of The Arab Chamber of Commerce & Industry applauded the success of such heritage and cultural exchanges.
Mesopotamia included the Sumerian, Hittites, Assyrian and Babylonian Empires. The exhibit took visitors through the agricultural developments of Sumer, the military might of the Hittites, Assyrians and the legacy of cosmopolitan Babylonia. Also covered in the museum are the hanging gardens of Babylon, the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world that has not yet been found.