Egyptian Magic

16 October 2010 until 13 March 2011

Exhibition 'Egyptian Magic'Exhibition 'Egyptian Magic'

Magical exhibition with objects from the Louvre and British Museum

With 'Egyptian Magic', the National Museum of Antiquity is presenting a unique exhibition about the magical world of the ancient Egyptians. The objects in the exhibition come from top collections at home and abroad. The basis is of course our own collection, considered to rank among the top 10 in the world in this area. Objects have also been borrowed from other renowned museums, such as the Louvre, British Museum and Allard Pierson Museum specially for this exhibition. You will see amazing amulets, scarabs, magical images and writing, magic knives or wands, pictures of deities and enchantments on papyrus. All the Egyptians' magical practices are on display.

Egyptian magic

The Egyptians saw magic as a perfectly ordinary part of life. It was a view closely interwoven with their religion. They believed that anything could be influenced by using magic, and tried to gain the gods' favour in all kinds of ways: by making sacrifices, for instance, or by wearing amulets. Their aim was to guide the mundane events of everyday life to their advantage. Priests performed complicated rituals in the temples to protect the whole land and its people. Magic made itself felt in every part of Egypt and at every hour of the day.    

Egyptian magic is alive to this day

Even in antiquity, the Egyptians acquired a reputation among other nations for their magical practices. In later periods, their magic influenced many other cultures. There are traces of this influence in the Talmud and the Old Testament, as well as in Islamic beliefs. The fascination of Egyptian magic has endured in the Western world, from mediaeval convictions to the present-day belief of some in the magical power of pyramids and the popularity of Tarot cards. Egyptian magic is alive to this day!

New book by Maarten Raven and extra activities

A beautifully illustrated book by the renowned curator at the National Museum of Antiquities and Egyptologist Maarten Raven is being published with the exhibition: 'Egyptische Magie - op zoek naar het toverboek van Thot' (‘Egyptian Magic - in search of Thot's book of enchantments', written in Dutch). He wrote this specially for this exhibition.
An extensive programme of activities is also planned, including:

  • Programme of tours and lectures
  • Egyptian assortment in the museum shop and museum café
  • Children's scavenger hunt and children's activities during the autumn holiday