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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Ancient Egyptian Time Table

As part of the Tuesday Time Tables at the Roman Baths, I chose to do my Time Table on the Ancient Egyptians, as I love Egyptian history. It was also a good opportunity to get objects out of the collections which the public rarely see. My theme was religion as it was an integral part of Egyptian culture and belief. Egyptian religion is complicated but it is better understood by looking at objects connected with it.

Most of the jewellery worn by the Ancient Egyptians would have acted as amulets to offer protection to their wearers. They often depicted gods or specific animals associated with gods, such as the three I used showing a frog, a baboon and Shu (the god of air).

One such piece is a beautiful scarab beetle. Scarabs are one of the more iconic symbols of ancient Egypt, and were often used in jewellery and decoration. They symbolised the god Khepri, who rolled the sun across the sky every day.

Scarab Beetle
As time went on, ‘shabtis’ (funerary figurines), became a common part of burials. Shabtis were servant figures that carried out the tasks required of the deceased in the underworld. They are commonly found in museum collections, but have you ever asked why they are so common? Perhaps it is due to their size which makes them both portable and beautiful? I have always been particularly fond of shabtis simply because I liked the idea of having little people come to life to help me out in the afterlife! Of the two shabtis displayed, my favourite was made of limestone. This object was my favourite because it was beautifully painted.

I also chose to display a copper alloy Osiris figurine. Osiris was the God of the afterlife and is one of the better known gods in the Egyptian pantheon. Figurines of the gods could often be found in household shrines or burials in Ancient Egypt.

For more information on objects from the Eygyptian collection please follow this link…



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