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Delving into the Mysteries of Osiris

Delving into the Mysteries of Osiris

The Arab World Institute presents a fascinating new exhibition entitled Osiris ; Egypt’s Sunken Mysteries. This event, which opens on September 8th, is yours to discover just a 10-minute walk from the Hotel Royal Cardinal.

In search of Osiris

Osiris, the Egyptian god who is credited with teaching agriculture to men, was murdered, dismembered and thrown into the Nile by his brother, Seth. Reassembled and brought back to life by the love and power of his sisters Isis (who was also his wife) and Nephthys, he fathered a son, Horus, before becoming the ruler of the afterlife. Worshipped in ancient Egypt, Osiris was central to various ceremonies and rituals, the secrets of which this exhibition seeks to unravel.

The recent discoveries

The exhibition presents recent discoveries made during underwater explorations carried out over seven years amidst the ancient sunken cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus by the European Institute of Underwater Archaeology (IEASM), directed by Franck Goddio. These two cities in the western region of the Nile Delta near Alexandria were key locations for Osiris worship. The archaeological excavations carried out there have led to a greater understanding of ceremonies that were once performed in utmost secrecy, and have also shed further light on the foundation myths of the Ancient Egyptian civilisation. About 250 objects, including statuettes, amulets, oil lamps and jewellery were found and are now presented to the public, many for the first time outside Egypt, throughout a fascinating and exciting journey.

At the heart of the city

As always at the Arab World Institute, this exhibition achieves the feat of being simultaneously interesting, accessible and aesthetic. The myth of the triad of Osiris, Isis and Horus is explained to visitors, who are then immersed in the heart of sunken cities as they follow the nautical procession that accompanied Osiris on his annual journey to the afterlife. The sensation of actually being in the Egypt of several centuries BC is profound. The moods, colours, lights and sounds change and the artefacts found on the seabed are echoed in the masterpieces on loan from Egyptian museums. Visitors move respectfully past the colossal statue of Hapi, the god of fertility, before discovering the hieroglyphics upon the high, black stele of Thonis-Heracleion. Then the objects of the Mysteries are presented, including ritual ladles, incense burners and the barley, flax, herbs and spices used to make magical substances. The arrival at Canopus is evoked by some exceptional pieces, with beautiful sculptures of rulers and deities adorned with their attributes and symbols.

It is with the feel of Nile mud still underfoot and a head full of music, incense and sacred rituals that visitors leave, to make their way back to 21st century Paris and a warm welcome at the Hotel Royal Cardinal!


Picture copyright holder: Press kit - Picture (The awakening of Osiris, Egyptian Museum, Cairo): Christoph Gerigk © Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation

Hotel Royal Cardinal, a 2-star hotel in Paris, in the heart of the Latin Quarter