Friday, 13 March 2009

As Big as Ramesses the Great

When I was in Egypt in February 2008, I told myself that I had reached an age where I should start collecting some serious stuff from my travels.

I was sick and tired of t-shirts which will whither away after a few washes and small insignificant decorations that will eventually end up at the Cash Convertors store.

I wanted something authentically Egyptian that will stand the test of time like the pyramids; something that I could pass on to my children's children. So I decided on a papyrus painting.

To find a papyrus painting in Egypt is easy, finding an authentic one made of real papyrus and not banana leaves is difficult.

So I made my way to the Khan El-Khalili bazaar in Cairo.

The market is believed to date back to 1382, making it one of the oldest bazaars in the world.

Having visited the Abu Simbel temple in Aswan,

and falling in love with Ramesses II, I decided that I wanted a painting of Ramesses II because Ramesses II is Ramesses the Great!

When I was in Egypt I noticed that amongst the pharaohs, it's always a popularity contest between Ramesses II and Tutankhamun. Most Egyptian paintings and artwork bear the face of either one of these guys.

Many people like Tutankhamun for various reasons. Essentially he was a boy-king made famous because his tomb was one of the best preserved, not to mention the amount of gold and treasure found in it. Other than that, he was just a small fry, reigned for only 9 years and died at 19 years.

So he didn't really achieve much in his short stint as a pharaoh. Can't blame him though, has anyone achieve great wonders between 10 and 19 years? Heck, I was still climbing trees and playing marbles at that age.

Tutankhamun is obviously shadowed by Ramesses II who is often regarded as Egypt's greatest, most celebrated and most powerful pharaoh. He became pharaoh in his early 20s and reigned for 66 years.

Ramesses II was a warrior and a builder. He lead many expeditions and battles to victory and died at around age 90, leaving behind many temples that has stood the test of time as a testament to his glory.

Ramesses II was also a sifu in fathering capabilities - he fathered approximately 44-56 sons and 40-44 daughters. That's a stud in my books!

So give me a man anytime!

Now back to my papyrus buying story ... At the papyrus shop in Khan Al-Khalili, I told the man to show me all his paintings on Ramesses II. After looking and thinking and choosing, I finally decided on a big painting. You see, size matters with Ramesses II, just look at the temples he built - Abu Simbel in Aswan

and Karnak Temple in Luxor.

Size does matter to Ramesses II so my papyrus had to be big also.

I brought the papyrus back to my family house and my mum helped bring it to the shop for framing. After that it was sitting in my room for the past one year because I didn't have a vehicle big enough to ferry the painting to my apartment.

Finally after 1 year, I asked my uncle who has a Toyota Avanza to bring the painting to my apartment and he did. God bless him!

So here is my 'Ramesses II' now hanging proudly on my living room wall:

Sorry for the poor quality photo. Because of the glass that reflected light and made an ugly white patch in the pic, I had to snap the pic at an angle, hence the ugly pic.

Essentally the painting is made up of 3 main events in Ramesses II's life. The picture on the extreme left is Ramesses II offering gifts to the goddess Isis. The middle pic is Ramesses II in action on his chariot with bow and arrow at the Battle at Kadesh and the last pic is Ramesses II's coronation.

No wonder Ramesses II is also known as Ramesses the Great.


Queen of hearts said...

love your Egypt story :)

Julie Lim said...

Queen of Hearts (cool name!),

Thanks for dropping by! Glad you like my Egypt story :-)

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