• SL Saoud Egyptology EN


Sheikh Saoud discovered Ancient Egypt when he studied law in Cairo in the early 1990s. The Egyptian Museum and the archaeological sites in the country opened his eyes to this unique civilization, inspiring him to seek artefacts both on the art market and from private European collections. He collected artworks that reflected the development of Egyptology as a scientific field but his main interest focused on the pharaoh Akhenaten.

The Discovery of Egypt

Miniature portrait of the Emperor Rudolf II (r. 1576-1612)When Napoleon landed in Egypt on 1 July 1798 with his army, he brought along a group of 150 scientists, engineers and artists to comprehensively document the country. While some artists painted monuments, other members of the expedition recorded the natural resources for the creation of a canal between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The results of this campaign (1798-1801) were published in the Description de l’Egypte, which led to the development of Egyptology as an academic field.

During a later expedition in 1828, Jean-Francois Champollion recorded ancient monuments; this book is part of the published results. This plate features a scene from Ramesses II’s temple at Abu Simbel depicting him in his chariot returning from battle.  Champollion is best known as the man who deciphered the hieroglyphic alphabet.

Monuments de l'Egypte et de la Nubie : d'après les dessins exécutés sur les lieux sous la direction de Champollion le-Jeune, et les descriptions autographes qu'il en a rédigées (2 vols.)
(‘Monuments of Egypt and Nubia: after the drawings executed in situ under the supervision of Champollion le-Jeune, and the author’s descriptions’)
Jean-François Champollion (1790-1832)
Paris, 1835-1845
Ink and opaque watercolours on paper
Orientalist Museum, LB.75.1


Akhenaten and the Amarna Period

Miniature portrait of the Emperor Rudolf II (r. 1576-1612)King Akhenaten (r. 1353-1336 BCE, 18th Dynasty of Egypt) and his queen Nefertiti established a new capital in Middle Egypt known today as Tell el Amarna. In a break with tradition, Akhenaten changed the state religion from the worship of many divine beings to the worship of a single deity, the sun disk Aten.  Restricted to the king and his family, this was an early form of monotheism that fascinated Sheikh Saoud.
This slab belongs to a group that once decorated a royal sunshade or kiosk at Amarna. It depicts a sphinx with the body of a lion, human arms and the face of Akhenaten. The Aten sun disk extends its rays towards the king. The ray facing the nostrils of the king ends with the Ankh, symbol of life.  During Akhenaten’s reign, a distinctly different form of art, seen here in the enlongated face of the sphinx, arose, but it was largely connected to the new religion and disappeared when the old religion was reinstated.

Akhenaten as Sphinx
Egypt, Tell el Amarna, New Kingdom, Amarna Period, years 6 to 8 of the reign of King Akhenaten, 1347-1345 BCE
Carved limestone
Orientalist Museum, QM.2017.0160

Death rituals and the afterlife

Miniature portrait of the Emperor Rudolf II (r. 1576-1612)Death in Ancient Egypt involved complex rituals to ensure immortality to the deceased in their afterlife. Some of those practices are illustrated by objects presented in the funerary section of the exhibition: mummification, weighing the heart and casting magic spells using the Book of the Dead and protective amulets, as well as ornamental offerings for specific deities in temples and funerary buildings.
This coffin contains the mummy of a priest. When ancient Egyptians died, they believed they were setting off on a journey to the afterlife. The 70-day process of mummification and elaborate coffins were reserved for the wealthy elites. The protective symbols and images of deities on the coffin insured the deceased's happiness for eternity.

Coffin and Mummy
Egypt, Thebes, probably Deir el Bahri, Priests of Amun Cache, Third Intermediate Period, probably early Dynasty XXII, c. 945-900 BCE
Sycamore wood and paint, linen, papyrus, human remains
Qatar Museums, QM.2016.0426

Ta-ari’s Book of the Dead
Egypt, Ptolemaic Period (305-30 BCE)
Ink on papyrus
Qatar Museums, STM.AN.EG.2676