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Travel Tip: Art and Archaeology in Switzerland
Offerings to the Egyptian Gods



Amon H. 17,5 cm, l. 4,7 cm, prof. 5,8 cm. Gold (2002a),Third Intermediary Period, beginning of VIII century (circa 800-770 B.C.) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York purchase, donation Edward S. Harkness, 1926 (26.7.1412)Photo courtesy of Fondation Pierre Gianadda 
Amon
H. 17,5 cm, l. 4,7 cm, prof. 5,8 cm.
Gold (2002a),
Third Intermediary Period, beginning of VIII century (circa 800-770 B.C.)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York purchase, donation Edward S. Harkness, 1926 (26.7.1412)
Photo courtesy of Fondation Pierre Gianadda 
Offerings to the Egyptian Gods
SWITZERLAND
MARTIGNY  •  Fondation Pierre Gianadda  •  Ongoing
 

Some seventy copper alloy and precious metal statues and statuettes (including bronze an alloy of copper and tin) are on view, covering a period of more than two millennia. While the Old Empire (c. 2575-2100 B.C.) offers remarkable metal creations, the use of copper and its alloys including bronze for statues of gods and kings emerges appre-ciably with the Middle Empire (c. 2040-1650 B.C.), perhaps because of the royal patronage which took an ever greater hold on the temples.

The surprising items that occupy the centre of the exhibition were produced during the Third Intermediate Period (c. 1070-664 B.C.). Political dissension and the instability of religious beliefs then endowed the temples with new importance. The small golden statuette of the god Amon, with his supple and nimble gait, offers a striking image of the divinity.

The exhibition documents the place and use of statuary in the temples, from the information yielded up by the statues themselves or thanks to archaeological evidence. Old texts have provided ritual regulations concerning the treatment of statues for worship, which were apparently unique and specific, and which were fed and adorned, to which jewel offerings were made and that were protected from the dangers of the night. Minia-ture golden bracelets and necklaces directly confirm these practices and certain statues preserved legible traces of their location and their movement during the ritual ceremo-nies. But, in fact, the thousands and thousands of works which were buried in holy deposits escape any linear and simple explanation. New archaeological finds such as little Harpocrates in the Metropolitan Museum, with a finger pointing towards his mouth and who comes from Saqqara throw a new light on the extent of the phenomenon of offerings to divine statues in Egypt in the first millennium B.C, which supports the inter-pretations placed on it. For example, a recent find revealed hundreds of these gifts, from the most refined to the crudest, carefully stored in a vault, deep below a temple. One chapter of the catalogue will be devoted to these, even though their function or status remains obscure; the temple, as depositaries of the existence of the gods, in fact accepted and preserved all these statuettes.

The exhibition was organized by Marsha Hill, Curator of the Department of Egyptian Antiquities of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The exhibition catalogue reproduces all the works exhibited in full colour. The selling price is CHF 45. (approx. 30).



Fondation Pierre Gianadda Web Site


Contact:
Fondation Pierre Gianadda
Rue du Forum 59
1920 Martigny (Suisse)
Tel: (41) 27 722 39 78

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