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Unlike most major European museums which set out to accumulate relics from the pharaonic past at an early stage, the Royal Museums of Art and History possess an Egyptian collection the origins of which are more recent. About 1850 it consisted of a nucleus of nine or ten objects which had more or less accidentally come into the possession of what used to be the Musée Royal d'Armures, d'Antiquités et d'Ethnologie. This small collection was extended with some two hundred objects thanks to the purchase of the G. Hagemans collection in 1861. That number was practically doubled when E. de Meester de Ravestein made a donation in 1884. Its present national and international fame, however, the Egyptian collection owes mainly to Jean Capart (1877-1947), founder of Egyptology in Belgium, who was attached to the Museum for half a century, first as the curator of the Egyptian section, later as general director. This dynamic personality knew how to arouse the interest of patrons of art and to buy valuable pieces at the right moment from art dealers or at public auctions. He encouraged both Belgian and foreign excavations in Egypt, which have yielded many objects that have greatly enhanced the collection. Thanks to Capart and his successors the Egyptian section now numbers more than nine thousand objects, representing all the flourishing periods of pharaonic civilization. The items on display are only a selection of the Museum's collection. On the one hand there are works of excellent quality illustrating the most diverse aspects of Ancient Egyptian art, on the other hand there are objects that are important from a cultural-historical point of view: especially the prehistoric collection, the ostraca and some objects of Ancient Nubia will attract the attention of the visitor.


KMKG - MRAH [07/003]