Added: July 14, 2008
The Stele in the Cairo Museum. The most recent footage I know of.
You were nice enough to sell me a private copy of True Quest for the Holy Grail last year, so I thought I would pass on what I discovered on my recent trip to Egypt. I went as a typical tourist for about two weeks. It was with a small tour group of about twelve people and we had our own Egyptologist as a guide. Before I left I started reading up on all things Egyptian. As part of our package we were going to be escorted inside the Great Pyramid, so one thing led to another and I remembered reading that Crowley had spent the night in the Great Pyramid. When I was talking to a friend about it the subject of the Stele of Revealing came up. I knew very little about it, but thought it would be nice to see it. I did a little research and scanned a few pictures to take with me to study. On Wikipedia, yes I know, under discussion there seemed to be some speculation that it did not exist ouside of Thelema and that no contemporary photographs of it exist. Being somewhat of a skeptic I went to Egypt with no expectation of really being able to find it. Surely with the thousands of artifacts at the Museum a third or more were probably in storage. Anyway I told my friend I would look for it.
In Cairo, on day two of the itenerary, our first stop was at the Cairo Museum. We only had two and a half hours to see the highlights which included the Royal Mummies and the Treasures of Tutankhamun. In the last thirty minutes we were left on our own and told to meet outside by a certain statue. I was on the first floor, which is actually the second floor because they have a ground floor, when I wandered into a side room off the gallery where they were displaying wooden mummy sarcophoguses, when I "accidently" ran right into it. I had studied the scans of the Stele and had picked out several identifying markers, Sky goddess Nut, winged disk, small disk with what appears to be a maltese cross on it, Ra on the left and a priest in leopard skin garment on the right. I didn't need any of that because it was labelled. Here are the details:
It is located in room 22 of the first floor of the Cairo Museum to the left of the entrance arch facing the central atrium. There are several floorplans in my guide books and I could mark the exact location if you are interested.
It is in a wooden cabinet roughly 8 1/2 feet high and 5 feet wide. The cabinet has a glass front and side panels. There are five shelves and the Stele was on the fourth shelf from the top or second from the bottom. It was on the right hand side with another object on its left. The Stele's dimensions appeared to be about 2 feet in height, about 15" wide, and about an inch thick. There was no exposed wood and appeared to me to be painted with several layers of thick paint before the actual hieroglyphics and scenes were added. Since the side had a glass panel, I could peek around and see that there were hieroglyphs on the back, but couldn't make out much. I can't read hieroglyphics.
In the lower right of the Stele was a 2"x4" card with the catalog number 9422 hand written in black ink about an inch high. Later, our Egyptologist said every item has two calalog numbers, a British one and an older French one. The Museum was founded by a Frenchman, Auguste Mariette(1821-1881). He also said the Museum is working on giving every item a third ,more modern, computer catalog number due to be finished in 2009.
On the lower left of the Stele was a much older card, which appeared to be at least 100 years old. The card was approximately 3"x 2" and was handwritten in black ink. The card read:
Stele a' double face du pretre de
Ankh f- n- Khonsou
On our last day I returned to the Museum because we had a half day to ourselves. I wanted to verify the information and jot down anything I missed. You cannot take pictures in the Museum and there are monitors everywhere. I really didn't want to risk getting into trouble snapping a covert picture, although I did ask a Museum worker. She said all photographs have to be approved by some professor or other. Anyway, it is there for anyone wishing to view it. My Egyptologist didn't know anything about it when I showed him some of the scans I brought with me. I looked for postcards of it in the gift store, but there were none. I bought a rather thick book, The Illustrated Guide to the Egyptian Musem published by The American University in Cairo Press. It has details of 570 objects, but unfortunately this Stele is not one of them. There are 120,000 objects on display and another 150,000 in stored in the basement according to one of my guide books. It could be a relatively unimportant piece, who knows.
P.S. One final comment, I find it odd that in the 30 minutes I had to walk around the Museum before meeting out front that I literally bumped into it within 4 minutes. When you think that there are at least 120,000 objects on display and it would probably take you several days to see them all, what are the odds? Coincidence...synchronicity...or something else. After the Great Pyramid, this was the highlight of my trip and it wasn't even on my itinerary.
looks like someone else risked a covert photo/video last month. It doesn't show the details of the card, but does show the relative position in room 22.
See Above, and thanks, brother!