Ahmed Shawky Museum

Monument to Ahmed Shawky Museum

Shawki named his house after Ibn Hani Al Abbasi, commonly known as Abu Nuwwas, a famous Abbasite poet (756-814 AD). shawki was highly infatuated with this great poet, whose real talent and rich achievements had not been duly evaluated and rather unjustly criticized. He was commonly, but not fairly, portrayed as a wanton and frivolous legendary figure. By naming his house after Ibn Hani, shawki had in mind to commemorate, redress and do justice to this great early poet.

Although the house was already too big, particularly for shawki's family, consisting of the poet, his wife, one daughter and two sons, an annex was added. In this annex, shawki stored antique furniture and other objects, acquired by the poet from public auction sales, being one of his favourite hobbies. The house comprised numerous rooms: three dining rooms, five sitting rooms with different colours such as the red, green or white room etc...

The house was further expanded, when he acquired an adjacent house to accommodate his daughter " Omniya ", married at hardly the age of fifteen. This house was appended to the Karma.

Ahmed Shawki Museum is a museum is located on the Nile Corniche, Giza part of Cairo, Egypt. Named after and dedicated to Ahmed Shawki, who used to live in ‘Karmet Ibn Hani’ or Ibn Hani’s Vineyardin at Al-Matariyyah area near the palace of the Khedive Abbas II at Saray El-Qobba until he was exiled. After returning to Egypt he built a new house at Giza which he named the new Karmet Ibn Hani. The Giza house later on became Ahmed Shawki Museum. It was first acquired in 1914 and named ‘Karmet Ibn Hani’ or Ibn Hani’s Vineyard, after the poet Abu Nawwas. It takes the form of a lavish white palace surrounded by a green garden and officially opened on 17 June 1977.

The museum is noted for its bronze statues. In the garden there is a large statue of the poet, created by late Egyptian sculptor Gamal El Seguini. The statue was erected in a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the poet's death. It is however a replica, as the Italian Government ordered in 1962 that it be erected in the Bourgese Park, Rome alongside the statues of other world artistic figures. The ceremony was attended by the Egyptian and Italian Ministers of Culture, the Mayor of Rome, and many Arab artists, poets and writers. There are also bronze statues of torch-bearing cherubic messengers. The torches represent enlightenment

Of particular note are the 713 poem manuscripts. The museum's collection also includes medals, awards and gifts awarded to the poet in acknowledgment of his great achievements. The house also contained a spacious service building ( Selamlik). Part of the area was assigned as a garage for two horse- driven carriages; a victoria ( Hantour) and a phaeton. There was also a horse stable, where two horses were kept. Although shawki had a liking for automobiles, and was one of the first who aquired cars in Egypt, yet, out of fear of speed, he did not like using them.

However, the most notable items are the photographs; each room or hallway is decorated with at least a dozen of them. Most of the portraits are family-related, it’s clear that Shawki cherished his family and grandchildren throughout his life. The museum displays up to 1153 exhibits, which include oil paintings, antiquities and photographs of the poet, his family and some prominent figures. There are also documents and certificates highlighting the poet’s coronation as the Prince of Arab Poets. Other photos are of famous leaders and public figures that were acquaintances or admired by the poet. His love for the Egyptian landscape is exemplified by the number of photographs and paintings glorifying the Nile and Egyptian desert.

In the house garden, there was a large number of domestic animals such as deer, turtles, peakcocks and parrots. There was also a basin, where a crocodile was kept. The reptile was brought, at the request of shawki's son, by an officer friend of the poet working in Sudan.
Ahmed Shawky Museum outer view, Giza, Egypt.
Ahmed Shawky Museum
Total Objects : 1450
6 Ahmed Shawqi St. between Murad St. and the Gizah Corniche (Gamal Abd Nasir St.), Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Tel.: +20-2-729479

Last Updated on Sunday 16th January 2011