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Oriental Museum, Durham

December 22, 2012

The first museum I visited due to my study was the Oriental Museum in Durham. The collections are mainly from China and Egypt and they are not exaggerating when they call their collection “among the finest to be found anywhere in Britain”.

I spent most of my time there in the rooms with the Egyptian artefacts, of course. However, I did browse through the entire museum, which is well worth it – even if you are not really interested in China. The people at this museum are very friendly and helpful.

There are two rooms for the Egyptian artefacts. One of the things that stand out is the mummy of a woman who was born without a fully developed left arm. Her mummy has an artificial hand, presumably to ensure she has a complete body in the afterlife.

Mummy
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When I was there a group of school children was shown around the museum and they were very interested in this lady.

I am quite interested in mummies of cats (some of which don’t even contain a cat at all!), but this mummy of a dog immediately caught my eye. The amount of detail they managed to put into the face, completely made of linen, is astonishing.

Mummy of a dog
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But, coming back to cat mummies, some did get their own container, like this one.

Cat mummy container
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The museum holds quite a few statues and statuettes. Some are so small you can’t help but wonder how they ever managed to get such detail into the design. The same question arises when you look at some of the amulets on display. It would appear every object ever made in ancient Egypt had a purpose and/or a use. It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful all these objects are and how much attention to detail the people who made these things paid to their work.

All of the photos I took at this museum can be seen here.

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