Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Middle Kingdom at the Met

Fig. 1 - Wooden statue of a serving girl, tomb of Meketre
     I finally got to the Metropolitan Museum to see their special exhibit "Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom". It is simply one of the best, and largest, special exhibits I have ever seen. There are over two hundred individual pieces in the show, many of which are among the most interesting pieces of Egyptian Art that I have ever seen.

     The pieces range from large stone statuary to small ivory figurines, dreadful First Intermediate Period stelae to exquisite Twelfth Dynasty stelae, the wonderful jewelry of Princess Sit Hathor Yunet and the famous wooden daily life models of Meketre (see figure 1).

     The accompanying exhibition guide makes the point that the Middle Kingdom is all too often overlooked by both scholars and the interested public. The Old Kingdom has the pyramids while the New Kingdom has the famous temples at Thebes and the Valley of the Kings. The Middle Kingdom by comparison has small, unimpressive and shoddily built pyramids of the Twelfth Dynasty and very little else that has been preserved in the way of large scale architecture.

     Over the course of my posts for the rest of the year, and into the new year as well, I will cover many of the pieces in the exhibit and try to tell some of the story of Egypt's Middle Kingdom.

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