Searching for Ancient Egypt

“”Teresa Johnson
AR 320
Joslyn Paper
An enormous cloaked figure greets incoming visitors. It sits, as it has for thousands of years a silent sentinel to the wonders of ancient Egypt. This block statue is only the first item of many at Joslyns art exhibition. The overall effect of seeing so much history in a relatively small space is awe-inspiring. I cannot help but wonder if the display would have had such a profound effect on me if I wasnt in the class. Probably so. I felt I could have stayed there forever if not for my one oclock class.
Seeing photographs in a textbook gives me an idea of what life was like for the ancient Egyptians, but being surrounded by things from their lives creates a whole new feeling. The giant wall paintings depicting everyday life are incredible. The actual artifacts on display are amazing, to think that they have survived as well as they have for so long. The beaded shroud was so finely made, it was surprising it would have lasted a day back then, let alone be in tact today. The mummy case was interesting. I know people were smaller back then, but to see the case put size into a new perspective. How did the get the body through the slit up the back? Canopic jars were usually topped by the gods that protected the parts inside, but there was one top on display that was the head of a youth made from calcite. There were other canopic jars, with the gods heads as lids. Hearing how they attended the bodies and what had to be done was fascinating, even as it was disgusting. The limestone coffin for the high official had writing on it to rejoin spirit and body. The broad collar was beautiful, with the flowers made from different stones and falcon head ends. The Nubian Ba statue holding the pine cone shaped symbol and the staff to represent the body for the spirit is different from the Egyptian ka statue that would have been holding an ankh.

The statue of the great commander of the arm looked female, even though the writing said it was male. Could it have been a female dressing as a male in order to gain power? The figure was entirely to feminine to be a guy. The spells from the Book of the Dead contain the answers for the soul to go to the afterlife. It has the names of all deities and the questions they would ask the soul, as well as the answers. Shabtis were little figures of people put in the tomb or buried with them to do work for the people in the afterlife. The memorial tablet for the purification priest was a stele meant to be read from all four sides, instead of two like the Palette of Narmer, which means it was probably put in the center of some room.
Overall, the effect of the show was incredible. It was almost as good as going to Egypt to see things up close and personal, as they were found and, in my opinion, meant to be seen. The Egyptians lives had to be balanced, in every aspect of their lives. The feather hieroglyphic, a simple symbol, represented the order of maat. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, the next day I saw the IMAX movie of Egypts mysteries, which gives you the feeling of being in Egypt. I hope to see the Joslyn exhibition again before it leaves, to become immersed in so much history.

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