Through artwork, archival photos and documents, photomurals, and didactic materials, the exhibition tells the story of archaeologist William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) and his exploration of ancient Egyptian civilization.
The show features more than 200 of Petrie’s most significant finds. The objects, hidden away in secret storage facilities throughout London at the beginning of World War II, have not been displayed until now. They include: one of the world’s oldest garments, a rare beaded-net dress from the Pyramid Age, circa 2400 B.C.; a fragment of mankind’s first history book from 2400 B.C.; the earliest examples of metalwork in Egypt; the earliest examples of glass – so rare the Egyptians classed it with precious gems; the oldest “blueprint,” written on papyrus; the first royal monument, from the reign of the legendary Scorpion King, from 3100 B.C.
Of particular note in the exhibition, are the elaborately-decorated coffin and cartonnage body case of the priest of Duaneteref from the twenty-second dynasty (c.945-715 B.C.) from the Bolton Museum in England that were excavated by Petrie in 1888. A video slide show shows the conservation process of the coffins. The exhibition also includes funerary objects: canopic jars, a gold mummy mask, papyrus texts from the Book of the Dead, a panel portrait from the Roman period, writing instruments, cosmetic implements, games and playing pieces, weights and measures, weaponry, ancient tools, and Egyptian masons’ models for pyramid building. Also of note is royal art from the heretic pharaoh Akhenaten and his wife, Nefertiti’s palace-city of Amarna; a bust of Caesarion, the son of Cleopatra and Julius Caesar; and a rare depiction of the pharaoh Khufu, builder of the great pyramid.
Columbia Museum of Art
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