When I stayed at the New Memnon Hotel, on the West Bank of the Nile near Luxor, I found out that the owner of the hotel, Sayed is also the owner of the NEFERTARY PAPYRUS INSTITUTE where still today papyrus is made.
Papyrus, is a thick paper-like material that was first produced by the Egyptians more than 300o years ago. Much of Egypt’s history was recorded on papyrus, including the Book of the Dead, which was found in the tombs of the pharaoh’s , or high-ranking officials, describing their life and times.
While visiting the Nefertary Papyrus Institute, Mohamed, the brother of the owner showed me how papyrus is made – and with the following pictures I am happy to share this experience with you. – First we went to his garden to look at the papyrus plant. It is a fuzzy looking bush with brush-like flowers shooting out of solid long stems.
When the strips are soft, they are placed side by side on a wooden board, the edges slightly overlapping, and then another layer of strips is placed over it at right angle, and to help them stick together a roller is passed over them. After that they are placed in a press, where they stay until dry.
The papyrus made at the Nefertary Papyrus Institute today is used by local artists to recreate ancient Egyptian life. The store is filled with hundreds and hundreds of exquisitely hand painted designs – I wanted them all – but having to choose, I came home with these two ducks – the papyrus, the beautiful design, the vibrant colors, the delicate hand of the artist are all an attempt to hang on to the past a little longer.
More from Egypt soon
PS. If you are ever on your way to the Valley of the Kings, you can’t miss the Nefertary Papyrus Institute – it is on the left side before you come to the Colossals of Memnon.