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We have now completed the description of those remains of ancient times which are at present arranged in the rooms on the ground floor of the British Museum, viz., the Assyrian, the Greek, and the Roman sculptures, together with the largest and most important of those which have been brought from Egypt.
We now proceed to those which are upstairs, and shall take them in the order of the rooms themselves: first, Egyptian objects; second, Bronzes; and third, Graco-Italian vases. We must premise, however, that in the Second Room our description must be taken as very general, no complete system of numbering having been as yet adopted whereby each individual specimen may be identified. In some instances we shall be compelled simply to state that this or that case contains certain objects. It must be remembered that the arrangement of this part of the Museum collections, as in the case of the Nimrud and Towneley sculptures, is at present only provisional, and that no complete and uniform plan can be adopted for the disposition and exhibition of the objects preserved in these collections till the new rooms, now in preparation, are completed.
Previous to entering the Egyptian Room upstairs, we will briefly mention several Egyptian objects we have here arranged on the walls below the staircase, and in the vestibule of that room. First, along the walls at the bottom of the staircase, by the door leading into the Library, are a series of tablets, most of them in calcareous stone, which, for their better preservation, have lately been glazed; and over the door leading into the Library is a plaster cast from the face of the Northern Colossus of Rameses II. from the rock temple of Ipsambul in Nubia.
2ndly. On ascending the stairs, on the Northern Wall of the Vestibule of the Egyptian Room is a plaster cast from the northern wall of the great edifice of Rameses II. at Karnak, sculptured in cavo-rilievo, and representing Rameses vanquishing the Tahennu, one of the northern enemies of Egypt. The Monarch himself is represented of gigantic proportions, wearing a casque upon his head, and standing in his chariot; he has caught one of the chiefs of his enemies by a bowstring round his neck, and is stooping forward in order to decapitate him with a falchion which he holds in his right hand. The rest of the enemy are flying, and some appear to be dead or wounded. The people wear on their heads two feathers, a cloak made of the skins of animals over their shoulders, and a kind of sash round their loins; in some sculptures their hair is red and their eyes blue. Their arms are bows and spears. Behind the Monarch is the Royal standard-bearer. The hieroglyphics refer to the conquests of Rameses II. This cast was made by Mr. Bonoini, under the direction of Robert Hay, Esq.
On the left of the door of the entrance to the Northern Zoological gallery is placed a plaster cast of a subject on the Tomb (commonly called Belzoni's Tomb, because opened by him) of Seti Menephthah I. or Sethos I., a King of the Eighteenth or Nineteenth Dynasty, in the Bibdn al Muluk at Thebes. It represents the Monarch Sethos I. holding a crook and a whip, introduced by the god Horus into the presence of Osiris Pethempamentes, who is seated on his throne. Behind Osiris, is a representation of the Land of the West, the abode of blessed souls, typified as a goddess, and having on her head the Hieroglyphic for "West." She is standing and regarding the King. This cast was made in Egypt by Mr. Bonomi, under the direction of Robert Hay, Esq. It has been coloured by Mr. Bonomi in the same manner as the original from which it has been taken. On the right of the door is a cast from the side wall of the entrance of the Tomb of Seti Menephthah I. The Monarch is draped in a transparent garment with the Atf on his head, and is addressing the god Ra, who grants him life, endurance, and the crown of the Sun; above, within the cornice, is the Celestial Sun, typified as a globe, surrounded by uraei, serpents and wings; below are the emblems of life and endurance. The Hieroglyphics in this cast contain the names and titles of the Deity or King, and the speeches of the former. This cast, like the last one, was made by Mr. Bonomi from the original in the Biban al Muluk, and has been appropriately coloured.
On the southern wall of the Vestibule, within a framework, are the following casts, also made in Egypt by Mr. Bonomi, and carefully coloured after the originals.
1. A cast of the apex of the fallen Obelisk at Karnak; the original, the companion of the great Obelisk which stands in front of the Granite Sanctuary, was erected, and dedicated to the god Amen-Ra, by the Queen Regent Amen-num-t Ha-asu, the sister of Thothmes II. and III., Monarchsof the Eighteenth Dynasty, during whose minority she reigned, in honour of her father Thothmes I. The Queen appears on the triangular part of the apex crowned by Amen-Ra, who addresses her. The large Hieroglyphics below are part of her names and title. This cast has been coloured to represent red granite.
2. is a cast taken from one of the lateral lines of the great inscriptions down the sides; it represents Thothmes III. offering oil to Amen-Ra.
3. is a cast from one of the sides of the same Obelisk, representing the Queen Amen-num-t Ha-asu and Amen-Ra.
4. is a cast from the same Obelisk, representing the same regent offering to Amen-Ra.
5. is a cast from a monument at Al Assassif, in which the Monarch Thothmes II. appears standing, wearing the tescher, and holding a sceptre in his left hand, and in his right a mace and the emblem of life. Behind the King is a symbolical figure, having on its head the Royal Standard. Above the head of the King a vulture, the emblem of victory, is soaring. The Hieroglyphics contain the name and titles of the King.
6. and 7. are two casts taken from a part of the tomb of Thothmes III. in the valley of the Bibitn al Muluk. They represent an inferior Divinity named Pet-Mut-f.
8. is a cast taken from the wall of the entrance-passage of the Tomb of Seti Menephthah II. or Sethos II. in the Biban al Muluk. The Monarch wearing the tall plumes, urai, serpents, solar disc, and goats' horns, and draped in a transparent garment, with the Royal apron, stands offering two vases of wine to some divinity, probably Ra, but the hand and sceptre of the God alone are visible. The Hieroglyphics contain the name and titles of the King, and part of an address to the God.
In proceeding to give some account of the contents of the Egyptian Room, we shall pursue the same plan we have already followed in our descriptions of other parts of this volume, arranging the subjects under certain general heads:—
I. Divinities And Royal Personages And Sacred
AccORDING TO THEIR PRESENT ORDER IN THE CASES.
At the same time we do not pretend that this is a scientific or exhaustive division, but simply one which may be adopted to facilitate subsequent descriptions.
I. Divinities And Royal Personages And Sacred Animals.
It appears to be generally held that the Egyptian system of Mythology recognized three orders of Deities: of which, eight were those who were called the Greater Gods, twelve those who were considered as Lesser Gods, and the remainder in great measure derivations from the former. Herodotus was informed that they were divided into three distinct orders, and the monuments, if correctly interpreted, give us the genealogy of the greater part of them; while on the interpretations which have been offered by such scholars as the Chevalier Bunsen and Mr. Birch, we think that all present investigators may be content to rely with much satisfaction. According to them the First order appears to have been composed of the Gods of different provinces: thus, Amen and Cnubis belong to the Thebaid; Phtah to Memphis; Neith toSaisin the Delta; and then comes the God of the Theban Panopolis. The eight Gods of the first order may probably be arranged as follows:
1. Amen, " the concealed God," the God of Thebes. 2. Khem, Chems in the Thebaid, the husband of his mother, the generative god of nature, the god of Panopolis. 3. Mut, the mother fBrito) Leto (Latona) goddess of Brito in the Delta, the templeconsort of Khem and Amen. 4. Num, Nu, Kneph, Cnubis, the ram-headed God of the Thebaid. 5. Seti, in Coptic Sate, "ray, arrow," the consort of Kneph. 6. Phtah, the Creator of the World, sprung from the mouth of Kneph, through the Mundane egg, the God of Memphis. 7. Net, Neith, the Goddess of Sais in the Delta. 8. Ra, Helios, the God of Heliopolis (On) in the Delta.
Besides these greater Gods were twelve Deities of the second order and seven of the third, who were held to be more or less derived from the first eight. These were:—of the second order,
1. The child of Amen, Khonso (Khons) Heracles.
2. The child of Kneph, Tet (Thoth) Hermes.
3. 4. The children of Phtah, Atumu, Atum, Atmu Pasht, the cat-headed goddess Bubastes (Artemis).
5—12. The children of Helios (Athor) Aphrodite—Maut— Ma—Tefnu (the lion-headed goddess)—Muntu, Munt—Sabak