Sunday, May 20, 2007

Temples and Tombs at the NC Museum of Art

Focus in this exhibit is always on the Egyptian royalty. Numerous statues and stelae attest to the greatness or power of many a forgotten monarch. Really interesting to see the shift in styles from the old kingdom through the middle kingdom
and onward to the new kingdom. Shifts toward realism are evident in the representations of kings and nobility as time passes toward the present.

Included in the exhibition are sculptures, reliefs, papyri, heiroglyphs of all kinds, jewelry, cosmetic objects, and funerary items in a variety of media – including stone, wood, terra cotta, gold, glass, and papyrus.

The first room is scattershot with objects used by artists and nobles. Among the included items are objects of decoration and protection, such as amulets, earrings, rings, a beautiful necklace, and cosmetic jars. Other items, such as a scribal palette, drawing board, practice drawings, and inked grid show the inner working of the artist's process and training.

There is a whole section of the private statuary. The earliest statues of private individuals were found in tombs, as a place where the spirit of the deceased could reside. The statuary here ranges from about 3000 B.C. to the first century A.D.

The last section of the exhibit focuses on Egyptian tombs and the afterlife. Seeking to gain life after death, items interred with the deceased were intended to protect their physical body and insure a successful afterlife for the soul.

There are bowls, palettes, headrests, ostraca (pieces of clay or stone with writing on them), and other everyday objects in the exhibition are embedded with protective symbols because they were intended for protection of the burial tomb.