Stunning mummy mask unveiled at Royal BC Museum

VICTORIA, BC – The 3,500-year-old Mummy Mask of Satdjehuty was unveiled today in the Royal BC Museum’s Eternal Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art from The British Museum exhibit gallery. This splendid gilded death mask with a winged headdress once covered the mummified face of a high-ranking woman at the court of Ahmose from Egypt’s early Eighteenth Dynasty.

The mask is a stunning example of the 144 treasures from the tombs and temples of Egypt’s greatest rulers that comprise the exhibit. Eternal

Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art from The British Museum opens at the Royal BC Museum on July 10 and runs until October 31. The exhibit represents the very best of The British Museum’s Egyptian collection and features original artifacts carefully selected for rarity and beauty. The tour marks the first, and likely only, time that these objects will be on view in North America.

On this splendid female mask, gold leaf not only covers the woman’s face, but also her huge collar necklace and the bird wings that embrace the front and sides of her voluminous, lapis lazuli-coloured wig. The ancient Egyptians believed that the flesh of their gods was golden. This mummy mask helped its wearer, a high-ranking woman named Satdjehuty, merge with the god Osiris in the Afterlife. In this way, she would become a god herself, and live forever.

The mask is made of cartonnage — linen stiffened with plaster — and is in excellent condition, making it a rare example of Egyptian funerary art. It is 33 cm (13 inches) high.

Eternal Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art from The British Museum is the most valuable and prestigious exhibit ever presented by the Royal BC Museum.

The exhibit spans more than 3,000 years, from the time of the great pyramids to the fall of Cleopatra. Highlights include a 2,500 kilogram red granite lion that once guarded the temple of Soleb, original scrolls from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and exquisite gold jewellery.

As a supplement to Eternal Egypt, the Royal BC Museum is creating special programs to bring the past to life for the entire family. Visitors can experience everyday life in ancient Egypt at the public marketplace, where they can learn to cook a meal fit for a pharaoh, how to make perfume, and explore fashion and personal adornment. Summer camps for children, public talks, and films will also run in conjunction with the exhibit.

A specially-constructed Mummy’s Chamber is devoted to ancient Egypt’s fascination with the afterlife. The display will house several authentic human and animal mummies, as well as a diverse collection of tools such as brain hooks, canopic jars, and other artifacts that explain the ritual and science of mummification and the importance the afterlife played in shaping Egyptian culture.

During the run of Eternal Egypt at the Royal BC Museum, The National Geographic IMAX Theatre will present the award-winning film, Mysteries of Egypt. This captivating cinematic journey along the Nile River Valley uncovers many of the treasures and wonders of this ancient and mighty civilization.

Eternal Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art from the British Museum is organized by the American Federation of Arts and The British Museum. The exhibition and its North American tour have been made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund. Additional support has been provided by the Benefactors Circle of the AFA.