The unwrapping of the mummy of Pharaoh Menephta

Maspero, Gaston, Egyptologist (1846-1916). 3 autograph letters signed ("GMaspero").

Paris & Ecuré, 1886-1916.

(Large) 8vo. A total of 3 pp. (5 ff.). Includes an autograph envelope.


To an unidentified recipient about the scheduled unwrapping of the mummy of Pharaoh Me(r)nephta: "On déroule Ménephta demain à partir de 9 heures ou 9¼; ne l’oubliez pas [...]" (Cairo, 7 July 1907).

Merneptah was originally buried within tomb KV8 in the Valley of the Kings, but his mummy was not found there. In 1898 it was located along with eighteen other mummies in the mummy cache found in the tomb of Amenhotep II by Victor Loret. Merneptah's mummy was taken to Cairo and eventually unwrapped by Dr. G. Elliott Smith on July 8, 1907, who noted that "the body is that of an old man and is 1 meter 714 millimeters in height. Merneptah was almost completely bald, only a narrow fringe of white hair (now cut so close as to be seen only with difficulty) remaining on the temples and occiput. A few short (about 2 mill) black hairs were found on the upper lip and scattered, closely clipped hairs on the cheeks and chin. The general aspect of the face recalls that of Ramesses II, but the form of the cranium and the measurements of the face much more nearly agree with those of his [grand]father, Seti the Great".

Another letter to Madame Albert Robin about an invitation (22 October 1886), and another to the historian and archaeologist Paul Esdouhard d’Anisy about his admiration for the beauty of Roger van der Weyden's polyptychon "The Last Judgment" in Beaune (5 April 1916).

After the death of Auguste Mariette in 1881, Gaston Maspero succeeded him as head of the Egyptian Service d’Antiquités Égyptiennes and director of the Bulaq museum, today the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. In 1886 he resumed work begun by Mariette to uncover the Sphinx, removing more than 65 feet of sand and seeking tombs below it. He also introduced admission charges for Egyptian sites to the increasing number of tourists to pay for their upkeep and maintenance.

Stock Code: BN#33982 Tags: , , ,