Monday, April 11, 2011

Ancient Egyptian Art at the Brooklyn Museum


The Brooklyn Museum's collection of ancient Egyptian art, one of the largest and finest in the United States, is renowned throughout the world. The Egyptian collection is exhibited on the Museum’s third floor in the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Galleries and in Egypt Reborn. Ancient Near Eastern art is exhibited in the Hagop Kevorkian Gallery.  I have viewed these exhibits many times in my life. First, as a young teenager into adulthood,and then again many times when I brought my own children to the museum. As often as I've seen the Egyptian exhibits, I am never without a sense of wonder and awe at their history and beauty. The museum does a wonderful job rotating objects from the collection archives, so there is always a new surprise to see as well as standard favorites.

(All photos will enlarge to allow for a closer view by clicking on it once, and then click on it again when it re-opens)

A relief of Ramesses II

The museum began acquiring Egyptian antiquities at the beginning of the twentieth century, through purchases, gifts and donations, and archaeological excavations.
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A photo mosaic of some of the many ancient Egyptian artifacts on display.

The museum collection now comprises a wide variety of material from every period of ancient Egypt’s long history, beginning with the Predynastic Period, about 3500 B.C., to the Coptic and Byzantine eras some four thousand years later. The Brooklyn Museum has also conducted archaeological excavations at the Temple Precinct of the goddess Mut at Karnak since 1976.

A Broad Collar from the Old Kingdom

 8,536 objects in the museum's possession can be viewed on the online collections page at this link.


The goddess Bastet, who was often depicted as a cat.

As a cat fancier, I always look for an example of Bastet when I visit an exhibit of ancient Egyptian art. It is usually easy to find a statue of her on display, as she was a popular goddess.


The Brooklyn Museum’s Mummy Chamber explores how and why mummies were made, as part of the strategies employed by ancient Egyptians in their quest to defeat death

The coffin and mummy of Thothirdes - Late Period, Dynasty 26


The exhibit includes a variety of coffins from different periods and various figurines and amulets buried with the mummy.


Canopic jars and lids of Tjuli -New Kingdom, Dynasty 19

Canopic jars were intended to hold the separately mummified internal organs. Later, at less extravagant funerals, they were never hollowed out to hold the organs, but were still symbolically included in the tomb.

On display near the mummy chamber was a twenty-five-foot-long "Book of the Dead" papyrus that provided the spells ensuring entrance into the next world and survival there.


A short, but interesting, video about the Book of the Dead of Sobekmose. Acquired in 1937 and never before on pubic display. It has undergone more than two years of conservation.


Inscribed stone slabs, called stelae, were placed in tombs to remember the dead, offer prayer for them, and symbolically provide food, drink and clothing for eternity. Small figurines called shabtis were also placed in tombs, each of which was assigned to “work” in the afterlife.

Animals considered sacred were also mummified and buried. An Ibis mummy coffin on the left and cat mummies and coffins on the right.


Face of Amunhotep II, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18


Akhenaten and His Daughter and Their Offering to the Aten
Late Kingdom, Dynasty18


The Brooklyn Museum also contains selected works of Ancient Near Eastern Art, including Assyrian Reliefs. There are twelve massive carved alabaster panels like the ones seen above, that line the walls of this gallery.  They are but a small sample of the hundreds of such reliefs, all originally brightly painted, that once adorned the vast palace of Ashur-nasir-pal II, one of the greatest kings of ancient Assyria. They were completed in 879 b.c. in what is now Iraq, slightly north of Baghdad.  The story of how these reliefs came to Brooklyn can be read on the museum web site at this link.


I'm sure you can see why the Ancient Egyptian exhibits at the Brooklyn Museum are among my favorites. I feel privileged to have seen so much of the collection over my lifetime living in Brooklyn and it is nice to know that these treasures are being maintained and preserved for future generations.

To see my introduction post about the Brooklyn Museum click here, and to see my post about a few special exhibits I saw at the museum click here.

I am linking this post with Mosaic Monday on Mary's blog at The Little Red House. Click on the link to see links to Mary's beautiful photo mosaic and links to all all the participating blogs.




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52 comments:

La Petite Gallery said...

Pat, this was just wonderful. Wish I had enough time to go see this but 3 days goes pretty fast we are trying to plan our days, there is so much to see and do.
It must be getting close to your trip.
yvonne

Elettra said...

Right now I'm very sorry for the Egyptian people he does not have a stable government, I was in Cairo last May and visited the museum that has left me speechless for the wonders that I saw your pictures confirm what I say. I hope in your heart that may soon have a democratic government, thanks to Pat for all the photos you've shown in this interesting museum

Ola said...

I do love seeing aracheologial obejcts, and Egypt has such a treasures of culture!

Tracy said...

Since my youth I've long been fascinated by the art & ancient history of Egypt... so seeing all of this was fantastic, Pat! I just feel so sad for what's been happening within the country now... ((HUGS))

La said...

Very interesting post, Pat. I remember seeing the King Tut exhibit in New York back in 1979.

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

Fascinating display. I remember some years ago when the Royal Ontario Museum brought King Tut's collection to Toronto and going to it and being absolutely amazed at the beauty and thought that went into the items as well as the mummification process. V

Grandmother said...

The video about the Book of the Dead is fascinating. How wonderful that people devote their skills to preserving such treasures. Cats never forgot their status did they?

Old Kitty said...

Beautiful pics of these wonderful ancient Egyptian exhibits!! They are truly a marvel to see!

I always found their art of mummification truly fascinating even if a little macabre- especially when the contents are on display! I will never forget seeing my first mummified egyptian cat in the British Museum here!!

The Book of the Dead sounds amazing - I need to be home to see this clip - can't wait!!

Thanks for a fantastic look around this most prestigious of museums! Take care
x

Carol said...

Fantastic exhibit, I can definitely see why it's a favorite!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I had no idea there was a fabulous Egyptian collection within the Brooklyn Museum. I've always enjoyed visiting the Met's Egyptian collection, but now I have another reason to visit the BMA.

From the Kitchen said...

I love ancient Egypt and all things associated with it. In fact, when I was a teenager, I considered archeology as a career. When our son lived in Brooklyn for a few years, we gave him a yearly membership to the museum and enjoyed it ourselves. And, I've certainly enjoyed "visiting" this morning.

Best,
Bonnie

Snap said...

Marvelous! Ancient Egypt has always fascinated me. Love Bastet and the Ibis. You are so lucky to live there and have all these wonderful places to visit. Thanks for being our tour guide!

Roz from 'la bella vita' said...

What a beautiful photo tour post. I didn't know that this exhibit was at the Met. Sadly, I never have enough time when I'm i NYC to visit it. Your photos illustrate the treasures of Egypt so wonderfully. I would have spent HOURS in that exhibit alone. What a great opportunity for you!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

This takes me back to my school days....and studying ancient Egypt. To have all those treasures right at your doorstep is amazing!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pat, this is fascinating. I think the work of preserving treasures is so admirable, too. You may think this is weird, but I have to admit I have sort of an odd feeling when I look at some of these artifacts in museums (spent hours in the British Museum doing that) because of what they represented in people's lives. Cat worship being one of them, though my former cats would all tell you that, while they weren't worshipped, they were completely adored.

While I don't believe in reincarnation, I do often wonder if we don't carry some memory gene in our DNA code that would account for some of these feelings. Maybe I descend from Moses! You have to wonder, though, how people actually worshipped golden idols. Then, again, we all have idols of sorts in our own lives, and while they may not be made of gold, they could qualify as such all the same.

See? Going to museums makes me think! To that end, I was thinking that one could never leave the boundaries of New York and still lead the world's most fascinating life. That's so evident from all of your posts, my friend. Thanks for sharing...

XO,

Sheila :-)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Clarifying: Evident that life in NYC is fascinating, not that you don't leave. LOL! Besides, I know you are headed out soon to go see some special folks! :-) Can you tell I was awakened early this morning by the sound of hammers? My brain is on auto pilot. ;-)

Barbara F. said...

Interesting post today. I was always a little in awe of mummies. This is an awesome collection. xo,

Vee said...

I always love to go to the Ancient Egyptian Art section of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Fascinating displays... I'm certain that I'd enjoy these displays at the Brooklyn Museum. Perhaps some fine day...

Cat & Cricket said...

Great post! Though now you may make me get the kids in the car this weekend and head into the city!
Smiles~
C

Michael Lee West said...

Pat, this is a stunning post!
You won Lori's giveaway for the $100 1-800 flowers! please email your address at designsbygollum@gmail.com with your email address/snail mail so I can give it to Lori. I'm not sure how she'll send it so both addresses will be best. Thanks!

Pondside said...

Egyptology holds such fascination for the west. I remember visiting and revisiting the display at the Royal Ontario Museum when I was a school girl. I think the collection that you've shown is spectacular.

Ginny said...

How interesting!!! I can't believe they cut the book of the dead!! Into pieces!! The cat and ibis mummies and coffins, wild! Now that ibis statue on the left, is that actually the coffin???

Oliag said...

Wow! Fantastic post!

ARLENE said...

Another fabulous post, Pat. One of my greatest thrills was seeing the artifacts at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. That said, I would love to visit the Brooklyn Museum to see this collection.

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

I really enjoy visiting Boston's MFA Egypt exhibit. We also have tow friends who an experts on Egyptology.

Donna said...

Beautiful photos of all the Egyptian art, Pat. What a great exhibit!

Hugs,
Donna

Annie said...

Its so nice of you to share this with others. Really, some of us don't get out much and its just a pleasure to be able to sight see with you.
Thanks.

Sheila said...

Pat, you are very fortunate to live where you do and to appreciate all that New York has to offer. I'm sre anyone who has not visited and lives with in striking distance will be inspired to visit after reading your post. I was amazed to learn of the vast Egyptian collection the Brooklyn Museum holds.

Farmchick said...

I love Egyptian art and culture. We were fortunate to see the King Tut exhibit while we were in Denver this past fall. Such an incredible culture.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Your posts are always so interesting. Ancient Egyptian art fascinates so many people. Wish I could visit this wonderful exhibit.

Lorrie said...

You've given us a wonderful overview of the display. I've always been fascinated by the Egyptian artifacts.

Yvette said...

I love this, Pat. The last time I was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I wound up spending so much time in the Egyptian exhibit that my day practically got away from me. Never enough time! If I could I would spend an entire week at the museum. Thanks again for allowing me to visit the Bklyn Museum vicariously. Just absolutely glorious photos.

Claudia said...

In the best possible scenario, a muserum can bring home the huimanity of other times and cultures. As I pause through the post, I don't see an ancient culture, but a vibrant people.

Sarah said...

Pat, thanks for taking us on a tour of the Brooklyn Museum. What a wonderful collection.
Congratulations on your win at Gollums. ~ Sarah

Tara said...

Hey Mary

Had no idea Brooklyn's museum was so large! As nicely displayd as the Met!

diane b said...

Egyptian History is so interesting but I know little about it. It must be a wonderful experience to see these artefacts of so long ago.

Kathleen said...

Truly fascinating! The boys in my class were always excited to learn about mummification. The girls didn't dig the pulling out the brain process so much...:)
Congrats on winning the big prize at Gollum's!

H said...

The Ancient Egyptians were fascinating! It's one of the history topics I always love to teach in school. The children are so enthusiastic about them.

Linda said...

It must be wonderful to have a museum that close to you. We visit museums in Balboa Park in San Diego when I go to see my sons during the week...that's one of our favorite things...but nothing like this!!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

We saw a similar exhibit in Memphis several years ago. It was fascintating! Thank you so much for another tour, Pat. blessings ~ tanna

Houseelf said...

I would gladly walk up and down the corridors of the museum with you. Fascinating!

Beverly said...

Pat, I can't imagine an exhibit I would love more that this. I find Egyptian art and history so incredibly fascinating.

Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Fascinating, Pat! I love ancient Egyptian history.

steviewren said...

So interesting! I love seeing the colors that some of the artifacts were painted. You are so fortunate to have access to so much art.

Love the photo of the grandbabies on your sidebar. They are precious.

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This just blows me away! Imagine something from back then making it until now! Imagine the energy each piece holds. Wow!!

Gracie said...

I love everything related to Egypt, and my lifetime dream is to go actually there one day.....
Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos.

The Gathering Place said...

What a wonderful gallery. I have a friend who lives in Egypt and I sure hope I can visit her some day! Thanks for sharing the information.

Theanne and Baron said...

Pat...lovely tour of the museum! Enjoy Egyptian art and learning about their ancient culture!

merrilymarylee said...

WOW!

And one day, you'll take the grandsons! (Treasures to see treasures!)

Dianne said...

I really love the Mummy Chamber

your grandsons are precious
I didn't notice the shots on the sidebar before

sueskitchen said...

Pat, I don't know how I missed this post...it is extraordinary! What an extensive display this is.
♥, Susan