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Egypt / Near East

The monumental bust of a Ptolemaic queen is the most spectacular and internationally recognized sculpture in the collections of the Royal Museum of Mariemont. This monument, which Raoul Warocqué acquired in the course of a trip to Egypt, stimulated him to create an Egyptian collection. His encounter with the French archaeologist and merchant Daninos Pacha in 1911 was the decisive meeting for the acquisition of works intended to give the widest possible panorama of Egyptian society, its religious and its funerary beliefs.

For a short time Raoul Warocqué also supported the archaeological excavations at Heliopolis, but the results did not turn out to be commensurate with the promises. After that, his desire to enrich the subject opened up new perspectives for the development of the collection: for example through the themes of the vectors of knowledge, the pre-dynastic industries and technologies, the evolution of pottery-making techniques, etc. Efforts were also made to illustrate periods of the Egyptian civilization that were still poorly represented.

Since the creation of the museum, the cultures surrounding the Mediterranean basin and the Near East have been at the heart of its concerns. To the expressions of the religions to which Raoul Warocqué was once sensitive, a diversification of subjects and regions has been added: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, North Africa. The central focus prioritizes intercultural exchanges, but does not in any way exclude other approaches. These are felt above all through ancient and Islamic pottery, the junction between the Far East and Europe. Therefore the civilizations of the Near East are a bridge between two universes and contribute to the understanding of history.