Egypt's GEM conservation center conserves Tutankhamun's cuirass which will be displayed for the 1st time



Sat, 19 Sep 2020 - 03:20 GMT


Sat, 19 Sep 2020 - 03:20 GMT

File: Tutankhamun's cuirass after conservation.

File: Tutankhamun's cuirass after conservation.




CAIRO – 19 September 2020: Major General Atef Moftah, General Supervisor of the Grand Egyptian Museum Project, announced that a team of conservation professionals from the Organic Laboratory at the GEM Conservation Centre worked tirelessly to conserve the cuirass of King Tutankhamun.



These distinguished conservators are Mennat Allah Mohammed, Mohammed Ayyad, Safwat Al-Sayed and Mohammed Yusri.


cuirass during conservation process


Moftah further stated that it is within the policy of the GEM to overcome challenges and difficulties in all aspects to protect and display Egyptian heritage. This strategy highlights the GEM’s plan to conserve, prepare and maintain the entire collection of King Tutankhamun for display for the first time in one gallery measuring 75000 square meters.


cuirass before restoration


Dr. El-Tayeb Abbas, Director General of Archaeological Affairs, stated that the use of this type of military cuirasses in leather is rare in ancient Egypt.


 This artefact is especially unique as it wasn’t made of metal units fixed onto a linen support, but was constructed of intertwined leather units fixed onto a linen support to provide protection for the chest.


Dr. Hussein Kamal, General Director of Conservation Affairs, explained that since the discovery of the king’s tomb in 1922, the cuirass had suffered from severe damage and that most of the leather units had detached from their linen support.


The leather units themselves were very fragile and some were missing. It had been a difficult exercise to restore the cuirass in the 1920s, when Alfred Lucas the English restorer who worked with Howard Carter used paraffin wax to stabilise it.


The cuirass had remained in the Egyptian Museum storerooms and had never been on display due to its bad condition, until it was transported to the GEM.


Studies have been conducted on the linen and leather to help understand the patterns and shapes of the leather units in order to classify and understand their original locations on the linen support.


 These studies involved state-of-the-art investigation and analysis techniques. Preliminary studies and preparation of the conservation work-plan took two months, and the execution of the conservation works and preparation of the display-mount took about a month.


This cuirass has been preserved by Egyptian specialists; it is a unique and special object and will be displayed for the first time to the public.


Yet another achievement of the GEM Project that we want to share with the world, attesting to the skill and dedication invested to protect and preserve our civilisation and cultural heritage.

The Grand Egyptian Museum will be the largest museum in the world dedicated to ancient Egyptian culture.

This is one of a kind museum is tailor made to preserve and exhibits Egypt precious national heritage with state-of-the-art conservation laboratories, along with educational facilities, temporary exhibition halls, a children’s museum, a conference centre, restaurants, cafes, shops and large gardens for everyone to enjoy.

GEM will house over 5000 artifacts of Egypt’s most famous king Tutankhamun, from his royal tomb, many never seen in public before. The Main Galleries show material from the Prehistoric to the Roman periods, while our entrance areas focus on Kingship and Power.


All GEM exhibitions will be contextualised for the visitor, with stories, texts, digital interactives and media displays.

The cherry on top that Grand Egyptian Museum will contain the first ever hanging obelisk on show at the entrance of the museum.

GEM’s Executive Affairs for Restoration and Transportation of Antiquities Eissa Zidan said that the restoration and construction of the world's first hanging obelisk will be completed soon and placed in front of the main facade of the museum, the bottom of the obelisk will contain the cartridges of King Ramses II.

Zidan added that the aim of the obelisk design made by General Supervisor of the Grand Museum Atef Moftah, is to make GEM’s visitor able see the cartridge from below.

The design allows the visitor to enter the obelisk base to see the archaeological base below it and by looking at the top of the obelisk, cartridges of King Ramesses II can be seen.

Zidan further explained that the design of the obelisk is unique in the world, where the obelisk will be hung on four columns, taking into account the loads and vibrations on the body of the obelisk. The hanging obelisk will be the first artefact to receive the visitor outside the lobby of the museum.

GEM’s Executive Affairs for Restoration and Transportation of Antiquities confirmed the completion of the obelisk restoration work, including mechanical and chemical cleaning, and strengthening of cracks in it, pointing out that the reassembling the obelisk is currently being completed.

He added that the word (Egypt) will be engraved in all languages of the world on the the columns and on the sides of the base bearing the obelisk, so that this design becomes a mix between the Egyptian genius in the past, present and future.

The inauguration of the Grand Egyptian Museum is one of the main events that Egypt and the whole world is waiting for in 2020.


More than 49,603 artifacts were moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum so far.

One of the most important transferred artifacts were the statues of King Ramses II, Sekhmet and Seti, in addition to a huge pink-granite portray of Ramses VI, and another distinguished set of statues that express the mastery of ancient Egyptian art.

Also a statue of King Khafra made of alabaster and a statue of the priest Kay made of colored limestone, depicting the priest sitting on a seat with a half backrest, beside his left foot is a small statue of his wife and a sarcophagus of king Senusert I was transferred to GEM.

On October 19 ministry of antiquities announced the discovery of the largest cache in the cemetery of El-Assasif by the Egyptian archaeological mission. A total of 30 coffins spanning back to the 22nd Pharaonic Dynasty were discovered and placed in a warehouse to protect them from thievery.

The 30 archaeological coffins have been transferred to the Grand Egyptian Museum.

The cache was buried one meter from the surface of the ground. The first row consisted of 18 coffins and the second consisted of 12 coffins for men, women, and 3 children.

For the first time GEM will display Tutankhmaum treasures in one place. The total number of antiquities belonging to King Tutankhamen is 5398. Among king Tut’s artefacts that was transferred is his coffin.

The transferred coffin is one of the three coffins of Tutankhmaum, portraying the golden king as God Osiris. The coffin was discovered in King Tut’s burial chamber in 1922. The outer ark is made of gilded wood.

The hands are clipped with gold foil, crossed across the chest, while holding royal decals inlaid with blue and red glass beads. It is 223.5 cm in length, 86.8 cm in diameter, while its height is 105.5 cm. The ark contains silver handles on both sides that were used to move the lid.

Minister of Antiquities announced that 50000 artifacts will be displayed in the Grand Egyptian Museum.



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