CAIRO – 6 July 2022: An ancient Egyptian bathtub that is believed to have magical powers that help relieve the heartache of lost love is among the exhibits of a massive new exhibition held at the British Museum.
The bathtub will be among hundreds of artifacts on display to shed light on the history of hieroglyphs, the writing system used by the ancient Egyptians, and attempts by scholars to translate them centuries later.
According to IIona Regulski, the curator of written Egyptian culture at the museum, the black granite basin is known as the Enchanted Basin, and dates back to around 600 BC. It was originally the sarcophagus of an Egyptian nobleman named Hapman.
"The Enchanted Basin is one of the myths that have survived to this day, as the its area is now called the Al-Marsud Basin in Arabic. Even the bus stop there still bears that name. They believed that if you somehow bathe in it, its magic cures you of the effects of love," said Regulski.
Regulski said that it was common for "magical powers" to be attributed to symbols, as even scientists believed there was some kind of magical knowledge here. They believed that if you were able to understand it, you could understand the meaning of everything and the forces of nature.
The exhibition also includes the Rosetta Stone, which was written in hieroglyphs, and was later translated to spoken Egyptian and ancient Greek. It was discovered in 1799 and translated in 1822.
Among the 240 pieces on display is the mummy of a noble lady, dating back to between 945 and 715 BC. It is housed in linen, plaster and a piece of cloth cut from a mummy during unwrapping in the 17th century in France.