Staatliches Museum Ägyptischer Kunst München


After the conquest of Egypt in 31 BC, the Romans took obelisks as a sign of their victory and placed them in the Circus Maximus and other racecourses in Rome. Obelisks also belonged to the furnishings of sanctuaries for Egyptian gods. At first they brought them from Egypt themselves, then they began to produce obelisks in Rome as well. One of these is the Munich obelisk, which has an inscription on its sides with the name of the Roman official Titus Sextius Africanus, who was presumably responsible for making the obelisk. It has not yet been possible to clarify clearly where the obelisk originally stood in Rome. It then ended up in Cardinal Albani's collection (1692-1779) and was one of the pieces stolen by Napoleon and taken to Paris. After the fall of Napoleon, the family did not have enough money to transport the obelisk back to Rome. In 1815 it was acquired by the Bavarian Crown Prince, who later became King Ludwig I (1786-1868), together with other antique objects for his planned Glyptothek. The obelisk stood there in the centre of the "Egyptian Hall" until the Second World War, before being set up in front of the Munich Residence with the opening of the State Collection of Egyptian Art in 1970. An outdoor installation is no longer justifiable today for conservation reasons, so the obelisk has been given its own room in the new museum.