A set of 124 artifacts from the treasured collections of the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in Cairo’s Bab Al-Khalq neighborhood and the Textile Museum on Al-Muizz Street have been curated and packed for transfer to the Sohag National Museum for exhibition, according to a statement on Tuesday by Elham Salah, head of the museums sector at Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities.
The new museum, which is set to open soon, will display the artefacts in an exhibit that reflects the unique history of Sohag, according to Salah.
Among the 108 artifacts curated from the MIA are a clay pot with handles and small base, a collection of jars and painted clay lamps of different shapes and sizes.
Also selected were collection of wooden paintings and canvases with scenes that depict a woman standing inside a domed doorway and a man on the banks of the Nile.
A small Persian manuscript relating the folkloric love story of Qays ibn Al-Mulawah and Layla in the 7th century Arabia, known as Layla and Majnun (Leila and the mad one), is also among the selected objects. The manuscript features 18 colored illustrations.
The 16 artefacts chosen from the Textile Museum include pieces of fabric decorated with faience ceramic beads, remains of children’s linen robes and a rectangular piece of a Kiswa, the cloth draped over the Kaaba in Mecca.
The Sohag National Museum was launched in 1983 but has not yet been completed due to disagreements over interior design and exhibits, as well as budget difficulties after the 25 January revolution.
Work resumed on the museum in early 2017.
Salah told press that the exhibit includes artifacts that had been unearthed in different sites near Sohag.
It would also display pieces that represent the traditions, customs, industry and handicrafts of the area’s inhabitants, such as their traditional costumes and jewellery.
“The concept of the museum is no longer dependent on placing artefacts next to each other to illustrate ancient Egyptian civilisation,” Salah said.
“This is a new philosophy that the Ministry of Antiquities is adopting in order to turn the country’s regional museums into more educational, cultural and productive institutions,” Salah asserted.
She added that instead, the aim now is to provide a broader educational service to visitors and raise archaeological awareness and loyalty towards Egypt by showing visitors about how their ancestors built such a great civilisation through scenes of daily life and culture.
Egypt’s regional museums have sometimes not fulfilled their true potential because they have often displayed objects without a thematic storyline, she pointed out, resulting in less than a fair share of visitors.
“Every regional museum should reflect the city or town in which it is located,” Salah said, explaining that in the Sohag Museum, for example, the exhibition design provided clear information about the history of Sohag, Abydos and Akhmim, as well as the role played by local historical rulers in building Egyptian civilisation.