Osiris, Egypt’s Sunken Mysteries (German title: „Osiris - Das versunkene Geheimnis Ägyptens“) opens 10 February 2017 at Museum Rietberg in Zurich. The exhibition features some 300 objects, many of them on display for the first time outside Egypt.
The focus of the exhibition is on finds that have come to light mainly over the past ten years of research conducted in the submerged ancient cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus off the coast of Egypt by the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology (IEASM) led by Franck Goddio in collaboration with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and supported by the Hilti Foundation. The show is supplemented by 40 masterpieces from museums in Cairo and Alexandria.
Together, they illustrate the legend of Osiris, the Egyptian god of the afterlife. Osiris, so the legend says, was killed and cut into pieces by his brother Seth. Osiris’ sister-wife Isis reassembled the pieces which led to his resurrection in order to conceive their son Horus. Osiris was therefore worshipped for bringing new life to death, including the circle of vegetation and the flooding of the Nile. The “legend of Osiris” is one of the great founding myths of ancient Egypt. It was remembered, perpetuated and renewed in the annual celebration of the “Mysteries of Osiris”, one of the great religious ceremonies of ancient Egypt.
The 1300 m² exhibition takes visitors to the sunken cities and to where the ceremonies took place, and affords further glimpses into ancient ceremonies and rituals that were once performed under the strictest secrecy inside the temples. The exhibition organiser is Museum Rietberg in Zurich. “We are proud to be able to show this unique exhibition at Museum Rietberg,” says the museum’s director, Dr Albert Lutz. “The stories the exhibition tells here had me spellbound from the first – and I believe our visitors will feel exactly the same.”