The grant supports a £3.3 million project which will create two new galleries displaying National Museums Scotland’s internationally important collections of Ancient Egyptian and East Asian material, together with a programme of activities across Scotland.
The new galleries will explore the remarkable cultural heritage of Ancient Egypt and East Asia. Showcasing over 1,200 objects, 40% of which have never been on display in over a generation, the galleries will be created in spaces within the National Museum which have previously not been accessible to the public. They are due to open in early 2019.
This project will be the fourth and final phase of a 15-year Masterplan designed to transform the National Museum of Scotland. Phase by phase the Masterplan is restoring one of the UK’s finest Victorian buildings, revealing remarkable treasures, and creating inspiring learning experiences to engage yet more visitors.
The Ancient Egypt Rediscovered gallery will present the remarkable culture and achievements of the ancient Egyptians, highlighting individual stories to give a sense of their values and personal lives. The displays will showcase the depth and breadth of National Museums’ Ancient Egypt material which is the result of over 150 years of collecting.
Female coffin: an exceptionally tall coffin with decoration in the rishi-style. The lid has feathered patterning painted in blue with black details on a yellow ground. The owner’s face is framed by a striped linen nemes-cloth, a beaded collar with falcon terminals, and a vulture-pectoral.
Gold Shebyu collar: consisting of four rows of gold rings threaded on a pad of fibre.
Figurine of a hedghog in a marching pose, made of blue faience with the quills indicated by brown flecks: Ancient Egyptian, Middle Kingdom.
A.1914.1079 Pendant of gold depicting an “upside-down catfish”, with an unknown core (possibly copper alloy) and a ring for suspension in its mouth: Ancient Egyptian, excavated by Petrie in Tomb 72 in Harageh Cemetery A, Late Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, c.1862-1750 BC .
Coffin of the estate overseer Khnumhotep, son of Nebtu, made of wood painted white with three horizontal yellow mummy bands and the face gilded: Ancient Egyptian, from Deir Rifeh, Middle Kingdom, second half of the 12th Dynasty, c.1940-1760 BC.
One of sixteen pottery mould-made shabtis contained in a rectangular shabti box made of wood: Ancient Egyptian, Late Period.
Footboard of wood, from cartonnage coffin or mummy-case, depicting the Apis bull carrying the mummy of the deceased, named as Pamiu, striding over the desert towards a pyramidal tomb: Ancient Egyptian, from Thebes, Upper Egypt, 3rd Intermediate Period, 22nd Dynasty, Osorkon III, 790-762 BC.
Painted wooden statuette of a ba-bird, with the body in the form of a falcon and the head in human form: Ancient Egyptian, probably from Akhmim, Late Period.
Wreath of twelve gold-foil leaves attached to a ring of copper, found on the mummy of Montsuef: Ancient Egyptian, excavated by A.H. Rhind in the tomb of Montsuef at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Thebes, Early Roman Period, c9 BC.
Statuette in bronze of Osiris, standing mummiform with Atef-crown and sceptres, and with seperate wooden base: Ancient Egyptian, from Saqqara, Lower Egypt, Late Dynastic Period, 664-332 BC.
Lid for an anthropoid wooden coffin, plastered and painted, of a child, Tairtsekher, daughter of Irtnefret: Ancient Egyptian, possibly from Deir el-Medina, New Kingdom, early 19th Dynasty, c.1292-1200 BC.
Mummy-mask of gilded and painted linen and plaster cartonnage, depicting Montsuef wearing a lappet-wig: Ancient Egyptian, excavated by A.H. Rhind in the tomb of Montsuef at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Thebes, Early Roman Period, c.9BC.
Stela in wood covered with gesso, round topped and painted showing a woman kneeling before Re-Horakhty, split in half and repaired: Ancient Egyptian, from Thebes, Upper Egypt, late 22nd Dynasty, Third Intermediate Period.
Votive statuette in the form of an ibis, the body made of calcite and the head and legs of bronze: Ancient Egyptian, Late Period.
Box of cedar wood with ebony veneers and ivory inlays and gilding depicting the god Bes and bearing the cartouches of Amenhotep II: Ancient Egyptian, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, c.1550-1295 BC.
Double coffin of two half-brothers, Petamun and Penhorpabik: Ancient Egyptian, Upper Egypt, Thebes, late Roman Period, c.175-200 AD.
Gold finger-ring, incised on the top with the name of Queen Nefernefruaten-Nefertiti: Ancient Egyptian, Middle Egypt, Amarna, probably the Royal Tomb, New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, reign of Akhenaten, c.1353-1336 BC.
National Museums Scotland has one of the most significant East Asia collections in the United Kingdom, representing the three major cultures of the region: China, Japan, and Korea. The Exploring East Asia gallery will present a unique perspective on East Asia, enabling visitors to explore and contrast the diverse traditions, peoples and histories of these three fascinating and dynamic cultures.
The new galleries will display a wide range of outstanding items including: the Qurna burial, the only intact royal burial group outside of Egypt; a gold ring which belonged to Queen Nefertiti; a unique double coffin of two half-brothers, Petamun and Penhorpabik; a Chinese lacquerware rice measure from the Ming dynasty; a Japanese woodblock print of the celebrated Kabuki actor, Ichikawa Ebizo V; and a rare and important early survival Korean lotus-shaped cup and stand from the 13th century.
Early 19th century suit of Samurai armour.
Inro or medicine case of mirror-black lacquered wood, with four compartments, decorated with a rising sun and a tortoise in gold: Japan, by Yamada Jokasai, 19th century.
Netsuke of carved ivory, a hare, signed: Japan, by Tomotada.
Cup of stoneware, with a high perforated foot, and a hematite covered interior, excavated in Nara Prefecture, Japan: Korea, Three Kingdoms period, 5th - 6th century AD.
Bowl of imperial yellow glass, one of a pair: China, Qianlong period.
Moon flask of carved red lacquer on a porcelain body, decorated on both sides with a landscape: China, Qing dynasty, late 19th century.
Vase of cloisonne enamel on copper, in colours with fishes among lotus and other aquatic plants, and border of interlocking dragon strapwork design round neck, probable original lid now missing: China, Ming dynasty, 16th century.
Lotus-shaped cup and stand of stoneware, decorated with inlaid designs in white and brown slip under a blue-green glaze: Korea, Goryeo Dynasty, 918 - 1392 AD.
Young woman's robe (furisode), of rep silk with design of maple branches above a festival curtain, outlined with couched gold thread, with padded hem and red silk lining, possibly for wedding ceremony: Japan, 1868-1900.
Painting on silk, Illustration of an Imperial First Rank Concubine's Winter Court Robe No. 2, from the "Huangchao liqi tushi" (Illustrations of Imperial Ritual Paraphernalia): China, Qing dynasty, c. 1760-1766.
Ceramic figure of a happy worker, one of a set of nine figures depicting different Chinese national minorities, the group of six dancers and musicians and three happy workers was intended to show the contentment of the minorities with New China: China, c1960- 65.
Porcelain figure group entitled Looking up to Mao, with brocade-covered storage box: China, Jingdezhen, 1972-74.
Rice measure of carved red, green and brown lacquer, square and decorated with five-clawed dragons in clouds above mountains and sea, with reign mark on base, and with wooden stand: China, Ming Dynasty, Jiajing reign, 1521-1567 AD.
Colour woodblock print entitled Shinagawa, from the series Tokaido gojusan-tsugi no uchi (53 Stations of the Tokaido), with the kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo V as Tonbei the ferryman, from the play Shinrei yaguchi no watashi: Japan, by Utagawa Kunisada, 1852.
In conjunction with the two new galleries, an extensive national programme is being developed to increase access to the collections across Scotland. These will provide a range of activities, loans and outreach activity to extend knowledge of these fascinating collections beyond the walls of the Museum, to local communities across the country.
As a result of this exciting programme, the East Asia (China, Japan and Korea), Ancient Egypt, Artistic Legacies and Inspired by Nature galleries are currently closed.
Header image: Pendant of gold depicting an upside-down catfish from Ancient Egyptian, excavated by Petrie in Tomb 72 in Harageh Cemetery A, Late Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, c.1862-1750 BC.