By Cheryl Robbins
The National Museum of Natural Science is currently the
temporary home of an extraordinary collection of more than
200 objects from ancient Egypt, on loan from the Roemer-und-Pelizaeus
Museum in Germany.
This exhibition marks the first time that such objects
have been available for public viewing in Taiwan, due to
the fact that the German museum--home to one of the most
important Egyptian collections outside of Egypt--is in the
process of moving to a new building. This unprecedented
display has already drawn huge crowds, with 100,000 visitors
in just the first weekend. Three mummies are the main draw
of this exhibition. One is of Penju, a priest who died around
800 BC. Penju's mummy is still inside its case, but the
foot cover has been removed to reveal the mummy inside.
The other two mummies on display are of children. One is
from about 2000 BC and the other is from sometime between
30 BC and 324 AD.
Even more unique, however, is the reconstruction of the
burial chamber of the tomb of Sennefer, the mayor of Thebes
around 1425 BC--the height of Egyptian civilization. The
tomb is famous for its extensive illustrations of grapevines
and, thus, has been dubbed the "Tomb of Grapes".
The burial chamber is a 1:1 reconstruction of the original,
including exact copies of wall paintings, and visitors enter
through a low passageway as in the original.
In addition to grapevines, there are scenes of Sennefer
undergoing purification and mummification rituals. Another
painting shows the various objects that were to be placed
in the tomb for Sennefer to use in the afterlife, such as
food, clothing and weapons. The Roemer-und-Pelizaeus Museum
is the only museum in the world that has received a license
from the Egyptian government to recreate the tomb, providing
viewers with a very unique opportunity to explore an Egyptian
The Ancient Egypt Exhibit runs until July 9, 2000 and is
located in the basement of the Chinese Science Hall of the
museum. The National Museum of Natural Science is
located at 1, Kuan Chien Road, Taichung and may be contacted
at 04-322-6940. Open hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday
through Sunday and general admission is NT$150.