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Feast your eyes – stunning objects from three new galleries coming to Edinburgh

an Egyptian coffin lid in the classic Royal style with male golden face and beard

Anthropoid coffin of the estate overseer Khnumhotep, Middle Kingdom, second half of the 12th Dynasty, c.1940-1760 BC. Courtesy National Museum Scotland

The National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh opens three new galleries this spring – scroll on down for highlights of the treasures in the Ancient Egypt Rediscovered, Exploring East Asia and the Art of Ceramics galleries

This spring sees the culmination of the 15-year, £80 million transformation of the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, which has already seen 13,000 objects put on display across 26 galleries. The fourth and final phase of this massive project will see the launch of three new galleries: Ancient Egypt Rediscovered, Exploring East Asia and the Art of Ceramics. Here are some object highlights:

Ancient Egypt Rediscovered

The opening of Ancient Egypt Rediscovered will coincide with the 200th anniversary of the first ancient Egyptian objects entering National Museums Scotland’s collections with the new gallery showcasing and interpreting the full breadth of the internationally-significant collections for the first time.

Presented chronologically, the gallery will spotlight the stories of individual objects and the people who made, owned, and used them as well as those who eventually rediscovered them.

Outstanding objects include the only intact royal burial group outside of Egypt, the only double coffin ever discovered in Egypt and a cosmetics box which is one of the finest examples of decorative woodwork to survive from Ancient Egypt.

The jewels of Haraga – an exquisite collection of gold and semi-precious stone jewellery – will be displayed as a group for the first time in generations, and the gallery will also shine a light on Scots, such as Alexander Henry Rhind, the first archaeologist to work in Egypt and the pioneer of systematic excavation and recording.

a photo of a carved jackal in the Ancient Egyptian style

Statuette of a jackal in painted wood, 25th-26th Dynasty, Third Intermediate Period, c.747-525 BC © National Museums Scotland

a photo of a golden laurel wreath head decoration

Wreath found on the mummy of Montsuef, Early Roman Period, c. 9 BC © National Museums Scotland

a photo of a golden ring with flat upper surface with Hieroglyphic decoration

Nefertiti ring. © National Museums Scotland

a coffin shaped lid with the full length images of two children painted on them

Coffin, plastered and painted wood, made for two children, from Thebes, Roman Period. © National Museums Scotland

a photo of a golden amulet with Egyptian eye motif

Amulet in yellow faience in the form of a wadjet eye, Ancient Egyptian, possibly late New Kingdom. © National Museums Scotland

a photo of a stone jar with pharaonic lid decoration

Canopic jar, Ancient Egyptian, Middle Egypt, Lahun, mid 12th Dynasty

a classic Ancient Egyptian coffin lid with golden decoration

Coffin of a royal woman. © National Museums Scotland

a photo of a carved fame brightly painted

Canopy excavated by A.H. Rhind in the tomb of Montsuef at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, Thebes, Early Roman period, c.9BC © National Museums Scotland

a photo of a circular box with figurative sculptural decoration

Amenhotep II box and fragments. © National Museums Scotland

a photo of a coffin lid with painting of Egyptian figure on it

Mummy mask and shroud probably from Deir el-Bahri, Late Roman Period, 200-300 AD

Exploring East Asia

National Museums Scotland’s East Asia collections are among the most important in the UK and represent over a century and a half of continuous collecting.

Celebrating the dynamic cultures of China, Japan and Korea, Exploring East Asia will showcase their diverse traditions, peoples and histories via exhibits ranging from Chinese oracle bones from 1200BC, to newly acquired contemporary objects including a new artwork by Edinburgh based Korean artist Choi Keeryong.

A range of exquisite art and craftsmanship from the region includes objects such as a headdress from 18th-century China, made from kingfisher feathers, five generations of Japanese ceramics from one lineage and a gugunbok, a ceremonial court official’s costume from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The gallery will also reflect important everyday items and explore the often-overlooked historical connections between Scotland and East Asia through material collected by people like Henry Dyer, a Scottish engineer who played a major role in revolutionising the Japanese engineering education system and Sir James Stewart Lockhart, colonial administrator of Hong Kong who became a respected expert in Chinese studies.

a photo of a full suit of Japanese Samurai armour including helmet

19th century samurai armour. © National Museums Scotland

a pring showing two Japanese men fighting with swords

Woodblock print of kabuki actors Onoe Tamizō II and Nakamura Utaemon III Japan, Osaka, by Hokuei, 1833. © National Museums Scotland

a photo of a traditional kimono style cloak

19th century manchu bridal costume on loan from Her Majesty The Queen

a blue stone ware jar with lid and animal and lotus decoration

Garden seat of porcellaneous stoneware, barrel-shaped with lion-mask handles China, Ming Dynasty, c. 1500 AD

a carved ivory figure

Okimono of carved ivory, Daikoku pulling the tail of a cat, to keep it from harming his rats, unsigned Japan. © National Museums Scotland

photo of an ornately decorated blue and turquoise hat with tassels

Theatrical headdress with wire frame covered with dragon and other motifs made from blue kingfisher feathers Chinese late c18th. © National Museums Scotland

Art of Ceramics

Art of Ceramics will celebrate the extraordinary versatility of ceramics and their creative use across art and science around the world. With ceramics ranging from the 11th century to the present, the gallery will feature art and craft objects but also explore lesser-known uses of ceramics, including their importance in international trade and in scientific applications such as 19th-century false teeth and heat-protective coatings for rockets.

Highlights range from highly decorative ancient Greek pottery to an 18th-century dish made for Willem V, Prince of Orange, to an earthenware figure by contemporary Dundee artist Stephen Bird along with the nose cone of a British Aerospace air-to-air missile.

a photo of a cylindrical lemon squeexer made of poercalin with lemon fruit decoration

Wemyss Ware lemon squeezer Scottish, Fife, Kirkcaldy, Fife Pottery, by Robert Heron & Son, 1916 – 1928, decorated by Edwin.

a photo of a metal rod with pink ceramic ball joint at the end

Ceramic hip joint from Biolux. All ceramic portions a light pink colour. Created by the company Ceramtec.

a white piece of porcelain in a graceful wing like shape

Dish entitled Triangle Plate, slab of porcelain covered in celadon glaze, with three feet Japan, Kato Tsubusa, 2015

a photo of a perfect conical pointed ceramic missile

Ceramic nose cone from British Aerospace Skyflash air-to-air missile, Carried by Royal Air Force McDonnell Douglas Phantom. © National Museums Scotland

a squat turquoise and black jug with animal decoration

Jug of ground flint and orange clay paste- Persia, late 15th century. © National Museums Scotland

a white vase with image of Chairman Mao on it

Large vase of white porcelain with underglaze blue decoration, depicting Chairman Mao with an inscription wishing him long life, 1968.

a star shaped Persian ceramic tile

Star-shaped earthenware wall tile found in the ruins of Veramin, probably from Rhages, 12th or 13th century. © National Museums Scotland

a photof a group of computer chips

CMOS camera chip for ‘Peach’ CMOS Camera, by VVL VISION Ltd, Edinburgh, c. 1994 – 2006. © National Museums Scotland


National Museum of Scotland

Edinburgh, Lothian

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