Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Stela depicting Cleopatra as male pharaoh discovered in China

In Beijing, an international joint research group from the Catholic University in Leuven and Beijing University discovered a collection of Egyptian art that was believed lost. A Chinese ambassador to Cairo compiled the collection in 1906; when he died the items of the collection were distributed between the Beijing University Museum, the Arts Museum in Beijing and Beijing National Library.

Chinese Ambassador Duan Fang who took keen interest in Egyptian culture, wanted to exhibit the collection in Europe, but he was killed in 1911. After his death, the collection was scattered about various museums and some items were even lost.

A year ago, Professor Willy Clarysse from the University of Leuven agreed to study a stela kept at the Beijing University Museum that allegedly belonged to Duan Fang collection. The study gave rise to recording the inventory of the entire unique collection.

The collection consists of over 50 stelae and 60 rubbings made with coal on paper. A special find is a stela which depicts Cleopatra as a male pharaoh. This is only the second known example of such a depiction in the world."