British Museum blog

Dismantling the crown

Sarah Price and Xavier Duffy, Museum Assistants

Early in January we travelled to Bonn, the venue of the previous Afghanistan exhibition to assist with the de-installation and transport of the objects to London. In the British Museum we will be responsible for installing Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World and it has been months in the planning. Our trip to Bonn was the first time we would actually see the objects rather than in the photographs we’d been carefully studying. It was also our first opportunity to meet the eight Afghan couriers who accompany the exhibition and who we will be working with closely in London.

It was then with a sense of anticipation and nervous excitement that we arrived at the museum to start work. We were able to look around the exhibition before de-installation began and this was a valuable chance to see what the objects are actually like and how they can be displayed.

One object that surprised us was the gold crown from Tillya Tepe that features on the British Museum exhibition poster. It is a most beautiful, delicate piece and had been cleverly displayed in Bonn. We were puzzled by how this object might be packed for transport given its fragile nature. The answer came when the conservator started dismantling it.

The crown’s shape is given by the mount it sits on during display. The top five sections come loose and are detached from the headband which itself then lies flat. Each piece had a series of loops on the back which thread onto corresponding spikes on the mount. These six sections are held in place with pins in travel boxes to stop them from moving during their journey to London.

Once all the objects had been safely packed into their crates it was time to transport the cargo to London with us and the Afghan delegation always close at hand. After a long day travelling across Europe the crates would still have to be unloaded at the British Museum. However, the Heavy Object Handling team and members of the Middle East department were thankfully on hand to assist with this final part of the process. The crates were placed in a secure storage area where they will remain until the (much anticipated) time comes to open them up and remove the objects for display in London.

Meeting the Afghan couriers was a great pleasure and assisting them with the de-installation of the exhibition in Bonn will certainly ensure the smooth running of the installation at the British Museum.

If you would like to leave a comment click on the title

Filed under: Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World, Exhibitions, , , ,

7 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Suck a lovely crown and such an interesting story. I would love to see it IRL. Many of the older crowns are made just like this, in sections, that are “easy to go” as we would say to day. Thank you!

    Like

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by British Museum, Miller's and Steven Moore, soxyfleming. soxyfleming said: de-installation?? is that really a word? RT @britishmuseum #AfghanistanBM …. how the gold crown was transported: http://bit.ly/hkbLws [...]

    Like

  3. J says:

    Hi! I was wondering if you had the measurements for the gold crown. I’m doing a project on this, because my class is going to London (I’M SOOOO EXCITED)and we all have to make models of something in a museum and I chose the crown! Thanks so much!!
    ~J

    Like

    • @ J
      The band which would run around the head is 45 centimetres (cm) in length. The ‘trees’, which sit on top of the band, vary slightly in size, but are approximately 13cm tall and 8cm wide.
      Good luck with the model.
      David Prudames, British Museum

      Like

  4. Dawn Clarke says:

    I am looking forward to this show, as I am guessing many of it’s contents will surpass expectations. It would not surprise me if there are many items which differ to our accepted conceptions of an item, like the crown. From the description given it seems more like a garment than a conventional crown. I look forward to other surprises.

    Like

  5. [...] problems facing the museum in the background of violent political change. National treasures like a gold crown and an inlaid pendant from the Tillya Tepe hoard only recently recovered after Taliban rule are [...]

    Like

  6. gold prices says:

    Thank you for sharing excellent information. Your website is so cool. I\’m impressed by the details that you have on this site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles.

    Like

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,419 other followers

Categories

Follow @britishmuseum on Twitter

British Museum on Instagram

Room 8, Nimrud, is the next #MuseumOfTheFuture gallery in our series. It contains stone reliefs from Neo-Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II’s magnificent Northwest Palace at Nimrud and two large Assyrian winged human-headed lions. The next gallery in our #MuseumOfTheFuture series is Room 7. It features a series of remarkable carved stone panels from the interior decoration of the Northwest Palace of the Neo-Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 BC). The panels depict the king and his subjects engaged in a variety of activities. Ashurnasirpal is shown leading military campaigns against his enemies, engaging in ritual scenes with protective demons and hunting, a royal sport in ancient Mesopotamia.
#museum #london #gallery Room 6, Assyrian sculpture and Balawat Gates, is the next gallery in our #MuseumOfTheFuture series. This room contains large stone sculptures and reliefs which were striking features of the palaces and temples of ancient Assyria (modern northern Iraq). Also in the gallery are two colossal winged human-headed lions, which flanked an entrance to the royal palace of King Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 BC) at Nimrud and replicas of the huge bronze gates of Shalmaneser III (858–824 BC) from Balawat. King of Persia Cyrus the Great entered #Babylon #onthisday in 539 BC. This iconic clay cylinder, known as the Cyrus Cylinder, is inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform with an account by Cyrus of his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC and the capture of Nabonidus, the last Babylonian king. 
The cylinder has sometimes been described as the 'first charter of human rights', as it describes measures of relief Cyrus brought to the inhabitants of the city after its capture. However it in fact reflects a long tradition in Mesopotamia where, from as early as the third millennium BC, kings began their reigns with declarations of reforms. 
#history #art Experience the pleasures of the early Ming court in an evening of performance, demonstrations, talks and workshops on Friday 14 November. Free, just drop in #Ming50Years 
#event #free #china #art #onthisday in 1420: Beijing is officially designated the principal capital of the #Ming empire. Find out more about the Forbidden City and this beautiful hanging scroll in a new tumblr post at britishmuseum.tumblr.com #Ming50Years
#China #art #history #Beijing
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,419 other followers

%d bloggers like this: