EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES     Exhibit
Ancient Egypt, like the Indus Valley, Chinese and near Eastern civilizations , grew up along a major river, developing a distinctive religion, writing system, colossal architecture and urban life. We know so much about life in ancient Egypt because the record of Egyptian death is so complete. The ancient Egyptians buried objects with the dead which they thought would be useful in the afterlife. Because of the dry climate of the desert edge, these are remarkably preserved. The only objects not from tombs are the monolithic head of the pharaoh Amenophis III, an image of royal propaganda, and the block sculpture of Sennefer. With its extraordinary wrap of hieroglyphic text around the legs of the squatting figure.
Many of these objects also tell us about the life of working people, such as breadmaking and the playing of music. Aspects of the death ritual are illustrated by the boat model. Among the many named ancient Egyptians Nofretimin a high-born lady of the old Kingdom, is depicted in a sculpture which shows the coiffure and clothing typical of the class. The relationship between a mother and her children is described in the relief sculpture of Int by the relative difference in their size . The striding wooden figure of Tjeti is an example of the idealized male form.
Protecting the human form in death are the painted coffins . The canopic jars which once contained the vital organs of the dead person and the boxed set of shabtis , miniature representatives of the agricultural labourers required in the afterlife. The painted pages of papyrus show what the ancient Egyptians believed happened to the soul after death-judgement, followed either by paradise or destruction, possibly by a hybrid monster which waits at the foot of the scales to gobble up souls who fail the test.
Enhancing the living body, jewellery and amulets dazzle on account of their colour, material and inventive design., Amulets are in the form of parts of the body which need protection.