Pectoral with a winged scarab and semi-precious stones, part of the funerary jewelry of the 18th Dynasty Pharaoh Tutankhamun (r. ca. 1332-1323 BCE). Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Photo credit:
Jean-Pierre Dalbéra/Wikimedia Commons.
Egypt is the oldest continuously documented civilization on the African continent, and our collection, begun in 1902, tells the story of its art from its earliest known origins until the Roman period. The galleries for this unparalleled collection have been reorganized and reinstalled to help tell this story.
Nubia (modern Sudan), Egypt’s nearest neighbor in Africa, was distinct from Egypt in its language and way of life, though many Nubians assimilated into Egyptian culture and thus became Egyptian. Egyptians of Nubian origin fully participated in Egyptian society at all levels. They were kings and queens, high officials, priests, and peasants. But Egyptians regarded Nubians still living in the area south of Egypt as foreign enemies. This relief perhaps represents King Taharqa, one of a line of kings that ruled Egypt in dynasty 25 who had Nubian origins in the Kingdom of Kush.
Visit our reorganized and refreshed Ancient Egyptian Art galleries to take in over 4,000 years of astonishing objects from this ancient multicultural society.
Spells, Invocations and Divination: The Ancient History of Magical Grimoires
Grimoires are books containing magic spells and instructions for the making of amulets and talismans, but some of them also contained directions of how to summon and control demons. Their origins date back thousands of years and serve as clues to understand the beliefs held by individuals at different points in our history.
Detail of statue of pharaoh Amenemhat III in the shape of a Sphinx-This statue of Amenemhat III was carved in the shape of a sphinx; joining a human head with a lion’s body. This particular statue was part of a larger group of statues of the king, which were probably placed in the temple of Bastet, the cat goddess, at Bubastis in the Delta.
To the Ancient Egyptians, Scarabaeus sacer was a symbol of Khepri, the early morning manifestation of the sun god Ra, from an analogy between the beetle’s behavior of rolling a ball of dung across the ground and Khepri’s task of rolling the sun across the sky.
The Egyptians also observed young beetles emerging from the ball of dung, from which they mistakenly inferred that the female beetle was able to reproduce without needing a male. From this, they drew parallels with their god Atum, who also begat children alone.
Sara Ahmed just became the first Egyptian woman to stand on an Olympic podium.
Sara Ahmed, an 18-year-old Egyptian weightlifter, won bronze in her 69-kilogram division, to become the first Arab woman to be presented with an Olympic medal in weightlifting. She’s also the first Egyptian woman to win a medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics, according to the Khaleej Times.
Ahmed hopes her achievement will inspire Egyptian girls and women to take up weightlifting. "I hope it will encourage other girls to take up the sport,“ Ahmed said to the Khaleej Times. "A new weightlifting generation can be born, a new beginning.”