CAIRO: A temporary exhibit of 15 replicas of masterpieces discovered in Tutankhamen’s tomb has been inaugurated in Sharm el-Sheikh to entertain participants at the Egypt Economic Development Conference (EEDC) scheduled for 13-15 March, announced Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty Thursday.
“The gilded wood statue of King Tut harpooning a hippopotamus is among the replicas which were produced by the ministry’s Replica Production Unit,” Damaty said, adding that the exhibit is free of charge for EEDC participants.
Among the collection are the Pharaoh’s miniature canopic coffin, the two Ka statues which stood as guardians before the doorway of Tutankhamen’s burial chamber, and five statues of different ancient Egyptian deities, according to Damaty.
The exhibition is part of the ministry’s goal of highlighting the importance of ancient Egyptian civilization through encouraging collaboration among all countries around the world, said Damaty.
“It will also contribute in exchanging knowledge and opening up new connections which can lead to an increase in tourism,” he added.
Around 80 states worldwide and 23 regional and global organizations have confirmed high-level participation in the EEDC, according to Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, amid expectations of “high turnout from global and multinational companies.”
Being the only authority with permission to produce exact replicas on a 1:1 scale, the Replica Production Unit was created in 2011 “to allow visitors to Egypt to buy high quality souvenirs and to help increase the antiquities ministry’s budget through selling more of its goods in the local market or exporting them abroad,” former Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass was quoted as saying by Al-Ahram.
In April 2011, the unit produced its first batch of 130 replica statues depicting the unique collection of King Tutankhamen, which were sold to tourists and hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Executive director of the unit Amr El-Tibi said it employs 40 skilled artists and painters to carve, paint and produce the replicas, Youm7 reported.