Sarcophagus of Henuttawy: Coffins and mummy's wrapping, Egyptian Civilisation, Egypt, 950-900 BCE. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: As human civilisations developed, so did the first kingdoms, along with tributary statues and the development of writing. These are explored in The First Great Powers gallery, where you are immediately drawn to the ancient life-size statue of Egyptian pharaoh, Ramesses II.

A bronze cuirass, a torso armour dating back to 800BC. The artefact was found in France.

Seated majestically, the king appears to preside over a vast empire. Yet, a few metres away, another stone statue shows Mesopotamian ruler Gudea, who also ruled over a large empire, standing humbly with his hands clasped. The contrasting depictions of the rulers offer different interpretations of power as the world’s first cities emerged, a tour guide told Gulf News.

The divine interpretation is continued in a stele, one of a handful of monuments preserved from the reign of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen. The engravings once again show the Pharaonic idea of being a deity and a king at the same time.

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Visitors will also be drawn to a darkened room leading off the gallery, which represents ancient Egypt’s fascination with, and focus on, the afterlife. Holding pride of place is a colourful sarcophagus created for an Egyptian princess, lying nearby a display of funerary servants that were placed in tombs and believed to serve deceased Pharoahs in the after death. There is also an easy-to-miss but fascinating fragment of a woven linen mummy bandage.

Other artefacts offer evidence of the growing trade in the Arabian Gulf region, including cups, bottles, necklaces and seals imported to the UAE between 2,500 and 1,800 CE. A bronze cuirass, a defensive armour for the torso, dating back to 800 BCE and found in France is also encased separately, another symbol of civilisations’ growing desire to assert their supremacy over others.

Don’t miss: The exquisite craftsmanship on the 2nd millennium Chinese bronze vases that were used for ritual worship and veneration of ancestors.

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Just as these first human cities represented a growth from ancient human villages, so too does the expanding breadth and scope of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s galleries.

Timings and entry fee: 10am-8pm on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday; 10am-10pm on Thursday and Friday
Dh60: Adults
Dh30: 13-22 years
Dh30: Education professionals
Free entry: Children under 13. Members of Louvre Abu Dhabi’s Art Club loyalty programme, journalists, visitors with specials needs and their companions

Next: Civilisations and Empires