Concrete, wood, gold leaf
279 x 912 x 180 cm
Méhémet Ali, vice-king of Egypt, encouraged by the Baron Taylor and Jean-François Champollion, offered the two obelisks erected in front of the Luxor Temple to Charles X and to France in 1830 as a sign of friendship. One of them was removed and shipped to France. In 1845, Louis-Philippe I offered in return a clock made out of copper, which today adorns the Saladin Citadel of Cairo. The clock, however, never worked as it was damaged during transportation. The second obelisk (that remained in Luxor) was officially returned to Egypt by President François Mitterrand in 1981. Egyptians believed that obelisks were sun rays petrified by the god Ra.