Sunday, May 31, 2009

Our Egyptian Saturday

This was the next-to-last weekend for the To Live Forever exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art, so we broke our "do-nothing-on-weekends" rule and, well, did something. The exhibit of ancient Egyptian funeral artifacts included mummies, coffins, amulets, and jewelry. As Don noted, this wasn't really an art exhibit but a culture exhibit. There were lots of signs with information on Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife; they were interesting but not always clear. For example, what we know as the human soul seemed to be split in two for the Egyptians; the "ba-soul" was the part that could come back to earth; I never found a card which explained in detail the "ka-soul" (though, as always Wikipedia came to the rescue: simplistically, "ba" is personality, "ka" is the life force).

Seeing bits of parchment with symbols written by people who lived thousands of years ago gave me a odd little frisson of awe--it's one thing to see a picture of symbols, or even symbols painted, but it seems more intimate to see actual inked writing. It was interesting to hear about the spells that Egyptians would memorize to get them into the afterlife, and even more interesting when I realized that today, those spells are called "prayers." Pictured is a canopic jar, into which internal organs of the dead person were put--though we learned that sometimes, the jars went into the tombs empty, or were reused years later.

I couldn't take pictures in the exhibit, but I did take a couple of pictures in other parts of the museum. Below is a work by George Tooker called Landscape with Figures. Despite its rather depressing, almost sinister tone, a company actually wanted to buy it to use in a job recruitment ad:

Next is the Dale Chihuly glass sculpture in the museum atrium:

Finally, a big Roy Lichtenstein in the staircase entranceway:

That night, we watched the 1955 semi-camp epic Land of the Pharoahs, about the years-long building of an Egyptian king's tomb, which becomes the Great Pyramid. I reviewed the movie here, but this is an excuse for me to run a picture of Joan Collins' incredibly hot servant, Mabuna. I have never been able to find the actor's name:

We closed the evening with the original 1931 The Mummy with Boris Karloff, which had several tidbits of information that related to things we learned at the museum. I reviewed the movie here, but this is an excuse to run a picture of the very handsome David Manners, the romantic lead:

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