Saturday, November 26, 2005

Glories of Ancient Egypt

An irreverently cheerful look at the exhibition, now at Daytona Beach: "The A new exhibit at Daytona Beach's Museum of Arts and Sciences, Glories of Ancient Egypt, really socks you in the head with exactly how besotted they were with post-life experience. It's kind of sweet, really, this feeling of someone trying to wave to you from eons and half a world away.And you can see the wave in these artifacts from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, more than 200 of them including the one that lured me in: a mummified kitten. Cat to the future. It rests in a glass case and looks a little like a potato that has grown into a somewhat lewd and funny shape. Goodbye Kitty is just one of an incredible number of funerary artifacts, including shawabtis, little figurines that did menial work for you in the afterworld (post-mortem PAs), and gold toe and nail tips for the mummies, similar in intent to fake nails people wear now. Continuing the fashion survey, one of my favorite artifacts is a beadnet dress and broadcollar (the Egyptians brought much of the stuff of life with them to their tombs). At about 4,000 years old, it looks less dated than acid-washed jeans. I also loved the kohl sticks and mirror, which came about 1,000 years later. The idea that dressing up and packing on the eyeliner has been an important custom for thousands of years is so "Circle of Life" . . . it would make me cry if I weren't afraid of wrecking my makeup and my new silk dress."

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