Ancient Egypt Exhibition Generates Excitement in Shanghai

Highlighting the significance of cats in Ancient Egyptian culture, the Shanghai Museum is drawing in pet owners with special events

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1 day ago 1 mins read

One of the year’s most anticipated exhibitions in Shanghai doesn’t feature work by Western modern masters, nor up-and-coming Chinese contemporary artists. Instead, “On Top of the Pyramid: The Civilization of Ancient Egypt,” running from July 19, 2024, to August 17, 2025, at the Shanghai Museum, will showcase artifacts from one of the world’s great civilizations. Over the past two weeks, statues, mummies, and more have started to arrive in Shanghai in advance of the exhibition opening. What’s more, the exhibition is generating excitement with a younger audience — perhaps due a feline connection.

The Shanghai Museum announced its partnership with Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities earlier this year. Featuring 788 artifacts, the exhibition promises to be the largest display of Ancient Egyptian materials outside of Egypt to date, as well as the biggest exhibition ever held by the Shanghai Museum.

Pyramid Poster

Poster via Shanghai Museum.

The exhibition has already attracted the attention of the Chinese public. All online tickets for viewing slots before September have sold out, and another 200,000 early bird tickets were grabbed as soon as they were released. At the moment, Shanghai Museum’s WeChat mini program shows no sessions available for reservation.

For Chinese millennials and Gen-Zs, the importance of cats and lionesses in Ancient Egyptian culture seems to be a major point of interest. The museum is organizing “Night at the Museum” activities in which visitors can bring their pet cats to the museum and interact with cat statues. The first event will be held on July 27, and the series will subsequently regularly reoccur on Saturdays.

“On Top of the Pyramid” will also feature a 45-minute immersive virtual reality experience intended to bring viewers back to Ancient Egypt.

The exhibition continues a series of major archaeological exhibitions at the Shanghai Museum this year, including a showcase of Sanxingdui and Jinsha artifacts in the spring, and the ongoing “The Glory of Ancient Persia: Treasures from Iran.”

Banner image via Shanghai Museum.

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