Monday, January 11, 2010

My absolute favorite thing to do in NYC is to visit the Metropolitan Museum.
For someone who did their studies in ancient civilizations and archaeology, it is the the proverbial candy store.

One of my favorite things about this museum is their collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts.  I find it  riveting to look at objects from everyday life and to imagine who might have made them and what their daily lives were like.
I look at a pair of woven sandals woven 4000 years ago and can't help but wonder about who made them: what were they like, short or tall, funny or dour, where they might have gathered the reeds, was it a sunny day or overcast when they wove them, where they might have had their workshop in the city, what they ate for lunch the day they wove them- the questions are endless!
I especially love it when you examine a clay object and you can see the maker's fingerprint still preserved in the clay after all of these thousands of years. It is  simply dizzying to imagine all of the millions of people born since- and none have had the same fingerprint.

Below are some of my favorites, all buried in ancient tombs in order to help the dead with tasks in the afterlife:

The aforementioned sandals

Linen sheets were an essential household item often included in tombs. They ranged in quality from a rough, almost burlap texture to the finest weave of tiny threads. The ones shown here were found perfectly preserved in their white linen chests.
Some tombs have been found with thousands of sheets within them.
Oh what I would give to touch one!

I'm always intrigued by the ubiquitous boat models found in tombs. I have dozens of pictures of boat models that I have taken in museums in Europe and in the US; I find the curves of the boat to be simple poetry.  I have sketches based on these boat forms for a large installation piece
involving a body of water.

These are models of various buildings that were found in tombs. The slaughterhouse was quite disturbingly authentically detailed, down to the bright crimson splashes of blood, so I will spare your sensibilities and show the lovely garden. This piece gives me ideas...hmmm.....

This oval woven basket is filled with tiny clay bowls of seeds ( which ALSO gives me ideas for a large installation piece. Sigh. So many ideas, not enough time, the lament of EVERY artist!)
 Ever since I read that scientists have planted seeds that they found in Neo-lithic tombs and have had them sprout I always want to see what would happen if you could only swipe a few and pop them in some dirt...

A recreation of the wigs worn by the aristocracy.
Not quite as sexy as Liz Taylor made them look in her 1950's Hollywood glam version of Cleopatra!

And the crown jewel of it all, The Temple of Dendur, given as a gift from the Egyptian government to the United States when it would have been destroyed during the building of the Aswan Dam. Dismantled and reconstructed in its entirety in a special building designed to house it,
it literally takes your breath away
as you cross over the moat
and through the ancient stone entryway.


  1. Thank you! If was wonderful to stroll though the Egyptian exhibition with you!

  2. Good post and Smart Blog
    Thanks for your good information and i hope to subscribe and visit my blog Ancient Egypt and more Snefru Red Pyramid thanks again admin