The Egyptian exhibit, for those of you that hven’t been there, is massive. It’s truly enormous and the thing is that there’s so much stuff packed into it. In the Roman and Greek exhibits at least most stuff is spread out but in the Egyptian one there’s stuff crammed into every single corner. There are study galleries everywhere and even the main exhibits have so many things in them. Everywhere you look, there are commemorative scarabs, beads, combs, cosmetic boxes and every sort of little trinket you could imagine.
One of the things that was absolutely fabulous was the amount of jewelry that has survived despite tomb robberies. This lady’s tomb was looted thousands of years ago but the robbers were interrupted because they didn’t desecrate her mummy. So she was still wearing the jewelry and sacred amulets the priests had placed on her mummy before she was sealed in her sarcophagus. And yes, this necklace is totally unrestored. That’s the original string there! The faience beads are absolutely fabulous, aren’t they?
One of the things I particularly appreciated about the Egyptian exhibit was the room practically dedicated to Hatshepsut, one of the female pharaohs. This is one of the statues where she keeps her rather feminine face and physique but dons the pharaohnic regalia. Some of the sphinxes that lined the way up to her mortuary temple were there and there were some fabulous statues made out of Aswan granite, which is a beautiful pink colour. Hatshepsut really was an incredible woman and seeing the delicacy of some of the works of art she commissioned was a real treat.
This pendant from Princess Mereret just embodies the grandeur that was ancient Egypt. It shows the skill of the craftsmen, the splendour and vanity of the court and the amount of trade Egypt had with the world because of the many different precious and semi-precious stones used for the inlay. It’s simply fabulous and it leaves you with a sense of total awe when you realize it is 4,000 years old. You really do feel stupid in comparison to these ancient peoples.
I didn’t just stay in the Egyptian exhibit, though. I also went through to see the European and Medieval art sections, which were also amazing and awe-inspiring. Some of the sumptuousness of the religious jewelry and iconography was rather shocking but I suppose it shouldn’t have been in hindsight, especially the things from before the Reformation. I found the stained glass windows like the one above even more impressive than all of the Rembrandts I saw. Why? They have just as much detail (and sometimes more) and I just like the overall style better. Not a popular opinion, but it’s just how I feel.
So that was my second and final day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. How has your day been?