British Museum’s Book of the Dead Exhibtion Preview Video of Ancient Egyptian Wooden Mask

Gilded cartonnage mummy mask from the British Museum. Image copyright - The Trustees of the British Museum.

The British Museum’s upcoming exhibition, “Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead” is set to open on 4th November 2010 and a video posted on the British Museum’s Youtube channel gives a teaser to one of the artefacts which will be a part of the show. The quick video shows the cleaning of Nesbanebdjed’s wooden mask from his coffin in the museum’s Organic Conservation laboratory, which will be one of the pieces on display when the exhibition opens this Autumn.

The star of the show will doubtless be the beautifully illustrated papyrus and linen works depicting the journey from death to the afterlife, dating as far back as 3,500 years old. Though called a ‘book’, the Book of the Dead was in fact a compilation of spells which were designed to guide the deceased through to the afterlife, and spawned many theories at an Egyptological Colloquium held at the British Museum last year.

It seems the first time that the British Museum has offered a teaser video on Youtube, and hopefully won’t be the last!A glimpse into the behind the scenes work that goes on inside the British Museum is rarely seen by the public as they wander through the many galleries. I’m sure people will be as fascinated by the processes which keep these ancient artefacts looking their best as they are observing them inside the museum.

Video: Ancient Egyptian Coffin Mask of Nesbanebdjed

Journey through the afterlife: the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead‘ runs from November 4th, 2010 to the 6th of March 2011 at the Reading Room of the British Museum. The entrance fee is 12, and British Museum members get in – as many times as they want – for free.

If you want to find out more about the Book of the Dead before of the British Museum’s exhibition opening, have a look at our article on the ‘Book of the Dead’ conference that was held at the British Museum last year. You can also read more details about the exhibition in Ann’s blogpost and read about one of the scenes from the book – the ‘Weighing of the Heart’ ceremony.