Inkjet technology brings The Book of the Dead of Ramose to life at Cambridge museum
Xaar, one of the world s leading suppliers of inkjet modern printing technology, is sponsoring an exhibition of one of the finest examples of an ancient colored document in the world: “The Book of the Dead of Ramose at The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
The 3,000-year-old document is made up of papyrus sheets originally forming a 20m roll, and was unveiled on June 19. Visitors will have the rare opportunity to view one of the finest and most recently restored Egyptian Books of the Dead in existence.
One of the most striking features of the Ramose papyrus is the vibrancy of colors used in the painted scenes. It feels particularly appropriate that a company whose primary concern is with color printing should be involved with this project, said Julie Dawson, co-curator of the exhibition and Senior Assistant Keeper (Conservation) in the Antiquities Department in a statement to the press.
The technical expertise of the Egyptian artists who worked on this papyrus is outstandingly high. Xaar has provided invaluable sponsorship towards an exhibition that allows us to bring this beautiful document before the public after two years of conservation work, added Helen Strudwick, co-curator and Outreach Officer, Ancient Egypt.
The Book of the Dead was a collection of spells and instructions placed in the tomb or coffin to ensure the dead person’s safe passage through the after-life. First written on linen mummy shrouds and later on rolls of papyrus, Books of the Dead are found in ancient Egyptian burials from around 1650 BC.
The Book of the Dead of Ramose, a high official who lived in the 12th century BC, was discovered in 1921 by the eminent archaeologist Flinders Petrie in the entrance to a tomb at Sedment in Egypt by the eminent archaeologist Sir William Flinders Petrie. This beautiful papyrus – made up of sheets originally forming a roll estimated to be around 20m long – is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of its kind, with vivid and brilliantly colored scenes of people, birds, animals and plants that offer fresh insights into the everyday world of the Egyptians.
Until now its frail and fragmentary condition has prevented it from being seen by the public, but thanks to a major conservation program this exhibition offers a rare opportunity to view this unique and beautiful object for the first time in many centuries. The papyrus will now be on display for a short time only, in order to preserve the vivid colors, allowing visitors a rare insight into the Egyptian world of the dead.
Xaar s sponsorship of this exhibition nicely illustrates the juxtaposition of Xaar s extraordinary high-speed inkjet printing innovation in the 21st century with the lengthy, manual dexterity that was required to produce the stunning hieroglyphs in the 12th century BC, observes Nigel Berry finance director, Xaar.
In these modern times we spend a great deal of time looking forward, and it is sobering to look back occasionally at the considerable challenges faced by our ancestors. This is Xaar s way of investing in the past as well as in the future, he added.
The conservation project has been made possible by the generous support of The Getty Foundation, The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Newton Trust and The Aurelius Charitable Trust.
For more information go to http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk.