Kunsthistorisches Museum: Traces of the World´s Fair

What has ancient Egypt got to do with the 1873 Vienna World's Fair? Find out in a pretty impressive way at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna.

Travel back in time to ancient Egypt and follow in the footsteps of the 1873 World's Fair - both at the same time. This is possible at the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection of the Kunsthistorischen Museum Wien (KHM). How, you may wonder? In the 1840s, the magnificent tomb of nomarch Chnum-hotep II (around 1870 BC) was discovered in Middle Egypt.

In the form of an enlarged replica, the tomb was then displayed as part of the 1873 Vienna World´s Fair. Particularly the imposing reproductions of the wall and ceiling paintings were considered fascinating. Visitors of the World´s Fair became acquainted with something Years later, in 1891, when the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna was opened, it was obvious to use these wall and ceiling paintings to decorate the Egyptian and Near Eastern Collection.

For 130 years now, the collection has been captivating visitors with its unique features. In addition to three original Egyptian monolithic columns, which are over six meters high, it also includes the reproductions of the wall paintings from the nomarch´s tomb. But time has left its mark, the wall tapestries and ceiling paintings were in poor condition, which is why they were comprehensively restored and subjected to scientific examination for the first time, in 2021. Today, they are considered a fantastic sight again and, of course, a perfect example of the far-reaching traces left in Vienna of the 1873 World's Fair.


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