|Egyptian Museum, Turin
Fondazione Museo delle Antichità Egizio di Torino
|The first object having an association with Egypt to arrive in Turin was the Mensa Islaca, an offering
table in imitation of Egyptian style, in 1630. It might had been created for a temple of Isis in Rome.
This exotic piece inspired King Carlo Emmanuele III to commission botanist Vitaliano Donati to travel to
Egypt in 1753 and acquire items from its past. Donati returned with 300 pieces recovered from Karnak
and Coptos, which became the nucleus of the Turin University collection.
In 1824, King Carlo Felice acquired the material from the Drovetti collection (5,268 pieces, including
100 statues, 170 papyri, stelae, mummies, and other items), that the French General Consul,
Bernardino Drovetti, had collected during his stay in Egypt. In the same year, Jean-François
Champollion used the huge Turin collection of papyri to test his breakthroughs in deciphering the
hieroglyphic writing. In 1833, the collection of Piedmontese Giuseppe Sossio (over 1,200 pieces) was
added to the Museum. On its arrival in Turin the collection, consisting of about 5300 pieces, was
installed in the rooms of the Academia della Scienze where it has remained to this day.
In 1894, the position of Soprintendente del Museo was entrusted to Ernesto Schiaparelli. The collection
was augmented beyond all expectations by the finds during his excavation campaigns between 1900 and
1920. From 1905 to 1909 he undertook the first scientific excavation of Deir el-Medina. In one
season, 1906, Schiaparelli employed more than 500 workers at the site. The northern side of the
valley was explored to virgin ground. The most spectacular of the many finds was the intact 18th
dynasty tomb of the architect Kha and his wife Meryt. The tomb and its contents were fully
documented in a publication, but Schiaparelli died before fully completing the excavation report.
The museum's last major acquisition was the small temple of Ellesiya, which the Egyptian government
presented to Italy for her assistance during the Nubian monument salvage campaign in the 1960s.
The museum was conferred on the Foundation (Fondazione Museo delle Antichità Egizie di Torino) in
All photographs of the objects from the museum's collections are © of Museo Egizio di Torino.
|“The road to Memphis and Thebes passes through Turin”.
|Ernesto Schiaparelli's bust, Turin Museum
Photographed by Hans Ollermann 2008