The opening of the Faras Gallery in the Warsaw museum in a new arrangement took place on October 18, 2014, it was designed like an ancient temple and depicts mainly paintings from the eighth to fourteenth century from the cathedral church of the bishops of Faras. It is part of a permanent exhibition, whose atmosphere was created in the image of a sacred interior, where one can contemplate the art saved from destruction and brought from the Nile Valley.
The paintings were in the Polish museum thanks to the expedition of Polish archaeologists under the leadership of Professor Kazimierz Michałowicz, who took part in the Nubian Campaign, which was an organized international action to rescue monuments that threatened to flood the Lake Nasser reservoir, a reservoir built there in the construction of the High Dam in Aswan, Egypt in 1972.
The first group of finds reached Poland in 1961. Murals that were discovered, made on plaster by the technique of tempera, were removed from the walls by conservators from the National Museum, from 1972 were made available to visitors, along with many other elements from the cathedral, i.e. architectural decoration of the cathedral and other churches and structures in Faras, as well as epitaphs of the local clergy or finds from the local workshops.
In the new arrangement, in the first part of the room, monuments from an older church erected in the first quarter of the 7th century are shown, there is also a model reflecting the architecture of the cathedral, as well as a topographic arrangement of murals from museum collections. In a special, separated room, you can also watch a 3D film projection presenting a reconstructed cathedral and a series of films dedicated to the figure of prof. Kazimierz Michałowski, the discoverer of the Faras temple and the creator of the Faras Gallery.
In the further part of the room, there are paintings mainly from the staircase, north vestibule and church external walls, details of the architectural decoration of the meroic buildings (4th century B.C.E.- 4th century C.E.), post-meroic buildings (IV-VI century C.E.) and the churches in Faras. In the cabinet at the passage to the main hall are presented monuments found in the tombs of bishops – a series depicting the funeral customs of the Nubian high clergy. In the next room, there were almost all murals from the naves and chapels of the cathedral, shown in a layout similar to the original arrangement in the church. The interior of the narthex was reconstructed, from which most of the paintings were taken to the Museum, as well as the northern nave, where it comes from, among others, the image of Saint Anna, and two chapels on the south side of the church.
The exhibition is complemented by showcases with ceramic vessels from workshops produced in Nubia and imported from Coptic Egypt and with small finds from the Polish excavations in Faras, Old Dongola. In several cabinets, there are Coptic monuments originating, among others from the Polish excavations in Edfu and Tell Atrib in Egypt and the works of Byzantine art from the Museum’s collections.
In one of the rooms, there is a small exhibition of crosses: Ethiopian, Egyptian, Russian, Hutsul and Ukrainian, of various forms and decorations as an object serving the purposes of liturgical worship and the devotion of private Christians in the historical regions of the world.
The new Faras Gallery has created thanks to the founders who funded its creation in its entirety, it was Wojciech Pawłowski and his family, thanks to which the opening took place in the planned time, after more than 40 years since the first public display of monuments.
The authors of the architectural design of reconstruction and modernization are Mirosław Orzechowski and Grzegorz Rytel.
The opening of the Faras Gallery has been under the honorary patronage of UNESCO and the honorary part of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (MKiDN) prof. Małgorzata Omilanowska.
A reference in Polish: http://bit.ly/2Xbdlr8