An exceptional exhibition dedicated to Osiris, the most fascinating God in Ancient Egypt, has just started in the IMA –Institut du Monde Arabe- in Paris. I had the opportunity to visit it with a guided tour by Franck Goddio in person, who is in the same time the French archeologist who conducted the submarine excavations in Egypt and the curator of the exhibition: really exciting!
The full name of the exhibition is: ‘Osiris, Egypt’s sunken mysteries’. It reveals the outstanding remains of the temples of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, two cities in Lower Egypt which had sunk in the Nile delta in the 8th century. Those remains have been discovered during the past twenty years thanks to impressive submarine excavations which started in 1996.
About 250 objects among the 500 found during the excavations are exhibited today in the IMA complemented with about fourty masterpieces lent by the Museums of Cairo and Alexandria. Most of them can be seen out of Egypt for the first time; if you have never been to Egypt, take advantage of this opportunity to admire them. And even if you have ever visited the Museum of Cairo, so rich in masterpieces but so dark and dusty, you will be delighted to see the same objects much better highlighted by a good display and lighting!
I am not a fan of Ancient Egypt. However I have been fascinated by the legend of Osiris and by the ritual of the mysteries. Those ceremonies commemorating the martyrdom of Osiris and glorifying its rescucitation were practised in temples throughout Egypt and lasted 18 days between the 12th and the 30th of the month of Khoiak. The recent submarine excavations have revealed many sites and objects relative to those mysteries: the remains of Amon Gereb temple in Thonis-Heracleion, of the sanctuary of Canopus… and even the vestiges of a boat some ten meters long used for the nautical procession of the God between both places.
It is this exciting history that is told us in the beautiful exhibition of the IMA. It has just started and should not be too crowded yet. One can make advanced bookings on the Osiris exhibition‘s website. I highly recommend it if one can afford. Indeed my only restriction is the admission price… rather high: 17,30€!
Christine Bokobza – Good Morning Paris B&B – www.goodmorningparis.fr
Practical information: Osiris exhibition – Institut du Monde Arabe – 1 rue des Fossés Saint Bernard 75005 Paris – Until 31st January 2016