Villajoyosa Museum is loaning Marq (Provincial Archaeology Museum of Alicante) a third of the objects that are to be exhibited in its latest exhibition
news published on 15th March 2010
The New Year flask will have a prominent position in the exhibition, as will other objects from Villajoyosa, including the Phoenician gold medallion with Pharaonic symbols and the sphinx amulet of Bes.
Running parallel to MARQ’s international exhibition – “The Enigma of the Mummy. Funerary Rites in Ancient Egypt” – which is on loan from the LouvreMuseum in Paris (March to October), is the exhibition “Egyptian Objects in Alicante”.This eight month long exhibition in MARQ brings together around 30 objects from various museums in the province of Alicante. A third of these exhibits come from VillajoyosaMuseum, which has loaned MARQ some exceptional objects as part of its magnificent exhibition. One of the highlights is the extraordinary Phoenician gold medallion decorated with Pharaonic symbols, which has previously been exhibited (2007) in the exhibition: “ La Méditerranée des Pheniciennes” (The Phoenician Mediterranean), organised by the LouvreMuseum in the Arab World Institute of Paris.
However, the most exciting object in MARQ’s exhibition is a unique in the Iberian Peninsula. This is the Egyptian New Year flask, found in the cemetery of Casetes in Villajoyosa.It was made around 600 BC in Sais, the Egyptian capital during the 26th dynasty.It contained water from the River Nile, which was collected on the day of the annual flooding (around 20th July), which marked the Egyptian New Year.The water collected on this day was considered to have magical healing properties. The flask, after it was probably acquired from Phoenician merchants, was buried in a grave in Villajoyosa to bring about eternal life for the deceased. Both sides of the flaks are inscribed with hieroglyphs which read: “May the god Ptah open a happy New Year to its owner!” and “May the goddess Neit give life and health to its owner!”Neit was the patron goddess of the town of Sais.
Furthermore, VillajoyosaMuseum is loaning MARQ other finds from the Casetes-Creueta and Poble Nou cemeteries. These include a green jasper scarab or amulet in the shape of a scarab beetle, which was placed on top of the dead in the tomb to aid them have eternal life in the afterlife, and seven carved soapstone amulets which represent different protector gods. These include the cow Hathor, the Falcon god Horus and its indestructible “Udjat” eyes, the jackal headed god Anubis and the dwarf Pataikos as well as two sphinxes.
One of the most interesting amulets is the winged sphinx with the head of Bes wearing a feathered headdress. The god Bes was the protector of the family, and especially women and children, assisting with birth and protecting the recently born. This amulet is unique in Spain and most likely comes from Sardinia, where there was a workshop which manufactured Egyptian style amulets. Very similar amulets to the one found in Villajoyosa have been found there.
Amanda Marcos, in charge of the Museum’s Collections and María José Veláquez, in charge of Museum Conservation, have alreadyorganised the packaging and all the necessary paperwork for these extraordinary objects to be shortly sent on loan to MARQ.