Antiguo Egipto – vida en el Nilo: from 20 April, 345 artefacts drawn from the collections of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection on display in Santiago de Chile

19.04.2016

An exhibition partnership between the Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda, Santiago de Chile

With the special exhibition "Antiguo Egipto – vida en el Nilo", the first ever exhibition on Ancient Egypt in a Chilean museum will take place at the Centro Cultural La Moneda in Santiago. Following on from "Art from Africa" (2013), it is their second major cooperation project with the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, and staff from both institutions have been working closely together to bring it to fruition.

By means of a selection of 345 artefacts drawn from the collections of the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the exhibition invites visitors on a journey down the Nile and through the land of the pharaohs. As the lifeline and lifeblood of Egypt, the Nile leads the visitors through more than 3000 years of the country's history, through the lived realities and faith systems of the ancient Egyptians, their here-and-now and their hereafter.

Egypt is a land of extremes, and produced a unique civilization. The landscape is shaped by the fertile Nile river, dry deserts and stark mountain ranges, while the culture is marked by traditions and the spirit of scholarship. For more than 3000 years – from the initial foundation of the state and the invention of writing around 3000 BCE through to the end of the period of Roman rule in Egypt around 395 CE – the country maintained its economic, political and religious stability, the foundation of which was the belief in tradition and the faith of the people. The Egyptians invented unique forms of artistic expression, built monumental tombs and temples, formed an effective structure of administration and business, and developed distinctive religious concepts, especially with regard to life after death in a world of the hereafter.

The Nile was fundamental for the economic and cultural development of the country, ideally connecting the different regions of Egypt and providing for a continual irrigation of crops. At the same time, it splits the country into an eastern and a western half, which Egyptians interpreted as the homes of the living and the dead respectively. After sunlight, water was the most important element for ancient Egyptians. For this reason, they connected the Nile not just with their visible world, but also with the sphere of the gods and the afterlife, with the Gods travelling in their barges across the heavens and through the underworld.