Before the golden masks of Egyptian
royal mummies became popular, an image of the deceased was rendered in simpler
media. As early as the fourth dynasty (circa 2625 B.C.E), thin layers of
plaster placed directly over the head, or on the linen strips covering the
corpse, solidified into a plaster “mask” with the likeness of the deceased.
Only a few such masks are known today. The Brooklyn Museum owns one of them and
we are very glad to be able to show it to our visitors. Dated to Dynasty
5 or 6 (circa 2500-2170 B.C.E.), our plaster mask is now on display in its own
case in the Mummy Chamber.
You can read more about it and
about the complex process of conserving this delicate object here.
Felines were closely associated with magic in ancient Egypt. Their soft and furry nature combined with aggression against mice or any potential danger, made them the perfect candidate for use in magic. That is, the feline was deemed dangerous and protective at the same time.
The panther head at one end of this “knife” and the leonine god Bes incised next to it are meant to enhance the object’s magical potency. Ancient Egyptians used “knives” like this one to magically protect pregnant women and newborns, repelling malevolent demons and disease. In the tomb, such knives provided protection for the deceased.
See this panther-headed “Magic Knife” and other ancient Egyptian cats on view now in #DivineFelines!
Ancient Egyptians frequently depicted cats adorned with jewelry. It seems that thispractice was not limited to representations of feline goddesses, but extendedto images of actual cats. In fact, tomb scenes with representations of pet catsat times show Egyptians cats wearing necklaces or earrings.
is interesting to note that although most images of cats wear simple gold
hoops, this cat’s head is embellished with the type of earrings that were
commonly worn by women in the Roman Period (30 B.C.E. - 395 C.E.).
According to myth, the goddess Wadjet was one of the daughters of the sun god, Re. Her form of a lion-headed female represents the fierce nature and power of this goddess. In this guise she helped her father battle against the serpent Apep. It may seem surprising that bronze statues of Wadjet like this one usually contained mummies of ichneumons (i.e. Egyptian mongooses), rather than felines. But, their connection becomes clear when we realize that because mongooses are successful serpent hunters, to the ancient Egyptian mind, their power over the mythological serpent Apep matched that of the leonine goddess, Wadjet.
With Ian, Season 5 has the potential to continue to grow with stories that break the mold. I look forward to seeing how the people who gave us the brave wonderfully nuanced Mickey Milkovich handle this next important chapter.
Written By Tamar Barbash, @writerTQB. [shamelesstv]
For Mickey and Ian, it has always been one step forward, two (maybe three) steps back. But as all “Gallavich” fans can attest, each season has had beautiful moments of growth, even if they were followed by gut-wrenching setbacks.
The great sphinx of Giza – a lion with the face of king Khafre, is usually one of
the first images that comes to mind when someone mentions Egypt. But, did you
know that there were many types of sphinxes in ancient Egypt? The sphinx is a
creature with a lion’s body and human head.
bronze striding sphinx represents the god Tutu. The Egyptians appealed to this
mighty divinity for such personal issues as fertility, birth, and health.
Believed to control a person’s fate and fortune, he also commanded demonic
entities, preventing them from harming individuals or harnessing their power
might is perceptible in his image. Not only does it include two potent symbols
of strength - a king’s head and a leonine body - but also has falcon wings and
a snake-like tail. The cobras on Tutu’s sides represent two of the demons that
You were introduced to this lovely object in an earlier post by Egyptian Art curator Yekaterina Barbash. These images show the Egyptian beaded net at the beginning stages of conservation treatment. The net is made out of Egyptian faience beads in tubular, round and disk-shaped forms. The beads were strung on linen thread and woven into a net-shaped structure. The net has a woven beaded band at its neckline and fringe at its bottom.
Egyptian faience is a glazed non-clay ceramic material. It is composed of crushed quartz, which is made into a paste with water. This core mixture is then coated with a soda-lime-silica glaze. It is the addition of copper salts in the glaze that produce the blue/green glaze. The components of faience were all prevalent in Egypt. The silica was found as crushed quartz or sand. The lime may have been from limestone or chalk which is also abundant in Egypt.
To make the tubular and disk-shaped beads a piece of thread or other type of central axis was coated with the faience paste and rolled into shape. While still moist, the long cylinder was then cut into sections forming the beads. The round beads may have been formed in a similar way and then shaped further by hand. Or these round beads were made by hand and then pierced to create the central hole for stringing. The faience paste was then dipped in the blue-glazing solution and fired.
Check back next week to see the full conservation treatment of this wonderful object.
Brooklyn Museum is proud and honored to have one of the oldest Egyptian female
figures - the so-called Bird Lady.
We have just updated our galleries with another very rare and most ancient
representation of a woman. Dating back to the Early Dynastic Period (3100-2675
B.C.E.), this funerary stela shows its owner sitting in front of an offering
table. Her offerings comprise everything that was deemed necessary for her
afterlife, including food and drink, various oils, and linen garments.
Unfortunately, the woman’s name remains a mystery because it was written in the
only broken portion of the stela – the upper left corner.
top of her offering table looks very much like the round stone table in a
nearby case which is also dated to Dynasty 2. Following
the fashion of the period, the leg of our lady’s chair is in the shape of a
bull’s hind leg. An example of such a furniture leg is on display in the same
In ancient Egypt both men and women wore jewelry. Although at first, ancient Egyptian women appear to have considerably more jewelry than did men, earrings became a popular item of personal adornment for men in the New Kingdom (circa 1539 – 1075 B.C.E)
In the 21st
dynasty a pair of earrings, made from one piece of gold bent into a C-shape,
belonged to the mayor of Thebes (a major city in Upper Egypt). He obviously
valued them because he took them to the grave! Pasebakhaienipet’s mummy wore
these earrings to ensure he would also wear them in the afterlife. The earrings
are now on display next to the coffin of Pasebakhaienipet in the Mummy
Today’s standards of
museum practice would not allow a mummy unwrapping of the sort that was
undertaken to retrieve objects like these.