Gi­ant Egyp­tian stat­ues go on dis­play in Paris

The China Post - - ARTS & LEISURE -

Three gi­ant Egyp­tian stat­ues sub­merged in the Mediter­ranean for more than a mil­len­nium have gone on dis­play at Paris’ Arab World In­sti­tute.

The mu­seum erected the gran­ite mon­u­ments Fri­day as a preview of its ex­hi­bi­tion “Osiris: Mys­ter­ies of Sub­merged Egypt,” open­ing Sept. 8. The show fea­tures nearly 300 ar­ti­facts, most of them dis­cov­ered in the un­der­wa­ter ex­ca­va­tions of French marine ar­chae­ol­o­gist Frank God­dio.

God­dio over­saw the rais­ing of stat­ues of the Egyp­tian gods Osiris and Isis, and a hulk­ing slab, known as a stele, that sat at the front of a tem­ple. The stat­ues are both nearly 6 me­ters tall and weigh around 4 tonnes each. The stele is also 6 me­ters tall and weighs nearly 15 tonnes. The Mar­itime Mu­seum of Alexandria nor­mally houses the three ar­ti­facts.

God­dio and his team dis­cov­ered the un­der­wa­ter ru­ins of the an­cient cities of Tho­nis-Her­a­cleion in 2000 and Cano­pus in 1997.

The cities sank into what is now Aboukir Bay, a part of the Mediter­ranean Sea just off the coast of Alexandria, in the 8th cen­tury fol­low­ing a se­ries of cat­a­clysmic nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

The cities re­mained the stuff of leg­end un­til God­dio and the Euro­pean In­sti­tute of Un­der­wa­ter Ar­chae­ol­ogy (IEASM) un­cov­ered them with sup­port of the Egyp­tian Min­istry for An­tiq­ui­ties and the Hilti Foun­da­tion.

Many of the ar­ti­facts go­ing on dis­play this fall are leav­ing Egypt for the first time, God­dio said. He re­mem­bered the dis­cov­ery of the Osiris and Isis stat­ues as “ab­so­lutely a su­perb in­stant.”

AP

Work­ers set up a statue of an un­named Egyp­tian king dat­ing from the Ptolemy era, made of pink gran­ite and mea­sur­ing 5 me­ters and weigh­ing 5 tonnes in Paris, Fri­day, Aug. 21.

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