Thursday, February 18, 2010

Exhibition: To Live Forever

New York Post (Stephen Brown)

As the exhibition demonstrates, the lives of the lower classes can be more interesting and insightful than the dazzling opulence of the privileged few.

“Typically upper-class material is shown at Egyptian exhibits,” said curator Edward Bleiberg. “Showing [burial] objects from the lower classes is a way for us to connect to the ancient Egyptians. Their problems are the same as ours: ‘How am I going to the pay the bills for this?’ ”

Indeed, then, as now, everyone wanted to be comfortable in the hereafter.

That explains one choice piece in the show: a sarcophagus for a commoner made from cheap clay and painted yellow to imitate the gold that would line a royal coffin, a desperate attempt to impress the gods.

As the exhibit shows, Egyptians from pharaoh to plebeian were keen to pimp their coffins in a variety of creative ways, even if it meant defiling someone else’s.

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