Posts Tagged 'Egypt'

Memory, All Alone in the Moonlight

Some furry friends invaded the DMA back in October and set up residence for three whole months in the Museum. They told visitors from far and wide stories of ancient Egypt where they were revered as powerful deities. They also educated them on some very important practices like mummification . . . GASP. Just look at all the fun that was had!

final-cats

It’s not too late for you too to experience the PAWsitively PURRfect exhibition Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt, but it will be soon. After January 8, Divine Felines will only be a “memory, all alone in the moonlight”.  So scurry your tails down to the Museum to check out the exhibition that everyone has been meowing over!

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA. 

 

On the Bookshelves: CATchy Tales Edition

catchy-tales-blog-post

This month I’ve been spending a lot of time in Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt with preschoolers. Ancient Egypt is always endlessly fascinating for young children, but add in cats and picture books, and you’ve got a triple threat! I’ve gathered up some purrrfect picture books for any kid cat-lovers—two of the stories take place in ancient Egypt and two are catchy tales you won’t want to miss.

 

Mummy Cat by Marcus Ewert, illustrated by Lisa Brown

With a rustle and a whisper, a little mummy cat wakes up deep in a pyramid and goes in search of his mistress and friend, Queen Hat-Shup-Set. As he journeys through the corridors, paintings on the wall tell the tale of his past life and the tragic fate of his Queen. Brown’s illustrations paint a story-within-a-story, and young readers will love pouring over each little detail and will beg to read this book again and again. Look for three little mice hiding on many of the pages and search for hieroglyphs sprinkled throughout the illustrations. An author’s note on mummies, hieroglyphs, and Queen Hat-Shup-Set make this book an excellent introduction to ancient Egypt. And if you visit Divine Felines, you can see an authentic cat sarcophagus!

 

Temple Cat by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Kate Kiesler

A cat lives like a king in the temple, with servants to care for his every need, but all he dreams of is a life beyond the temple walls. So one night, he quietly slips out and embarks on an adventure, sleeping in barns, catching his own food, and making friends with some children. Along the way, he discovers his greatest dream—to be loved as an ordinary cat. Cat-lovers will especially love how Kiesler captures the very “cat-ness” of our hero as he licks his paws, revels in chin tickles, or weaves around a child’s leg. The background illustrations however, are just as beautiful, painting a vivid picture of what ancient Egyptian life might have been like.

 

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

“The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws…” With this lyrical beginning, Wenzel takes readers on a journey of perspective, imagining different encounters between a cat and its surroundings. With each page turn, we see the cat from a different point of view. A child sees a cuddly, friendly companion. A dog and fox see something to chase. A fish and a mouse see a huge, scary creature to be avoided at all costs! A flea sees a warm place to take a nap. The text itself is incredibly simple, but the illustrations take on a life of their own, challenging young readers to consider how one animal (or by extension, person) can be so many different things. And for art-loving kids, the way Wenzel changes his style to fit each creature’s perspective is truly magical. They All Saw a Cat is already getting some buzz for the coming picture book awards season!

 

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Mr. Tiger is tired of his prim and proper life, and decides something needs to change. HE needs to change! And so he goes “wild.” But does he go just a little too far? I’ve written about this book before here, and it still continues to be a go-to favorite for story time. One page turn in particular ALWAYS elicits shrieks of laughter and gasps, and I can’t help but love it when the children roar right along with Mr. Tiger.

 

What’s your favorite meow-sterpiece in cat picture books? Please share in the comments below!

And as always—happy reading!

Leah Hanson
Manager of Family and Early Learning Programs

Friday Photos: Feline Good at the DMA

It’s been almost a month since Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt opened here at the DMA and it’s been purrfectly amazing how much our visitors have enjoyed the exhibition. In addition to over eighty ancient objects, the exhibition also features an educational space which offers interactive learning opportunities.

At the sound wall, you can listen to stories of deities in Ancient Egyptian mythology, courtesy of our favorite storyteller Ann Marie Newman.

bastet

The goddess Bastet, whose head is cat-shaped.

image-of-divine-felines

Images (left to right): Cat’s Head, Egypt, Roman Period, 30 B.C.E.–3rd century C.E., bronze and gold, Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 36.114; Sphinx of King Sheshenq, Egypt, Third Intermediate Period, Dynasty 22–Dynasty 23, c. 945–718 B.C.E., bronze, Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 33.586; Standing Lion-Headed Goddess, Egypt, Late Period or later, 664–30 B.C.E., faience, Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.943E

You can also smell the perfumes, oils and incense that played an important role in Ancient Egyptian daily life and the afterlife. Experience the scents a Pharaoh might have encountered in an ancient temple, or those the embalmer might have smelled while preparing a mummy for the afterlife.

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Reading Area and Scent Bar

You can also find a selection of objects in this area that are part of the Museum’s own collection, so be sure to hunt down the felines we have present all across the Museum!

A selection of these works can be found in our Cats Across the Collection self-guided tour and our Feline Friendly Family Guide. And don’t forget to check out all the upcoming exhibition programs here. We’re not kitten around when we say a visit to the Museum is the purrfect fall activity for all our cat-lovers out there!

Marta Torres
McDermott Graduate Intern for Visitor Engagement

That’s a Wrap!

For thousands of years, cultures all around the world have practiced mummification to preserve departed loved ones and revered leaders along with objects that celebrated their life and prepared them for the afterlife. Check out these spook-tacular objects from the DMA’s collection related to mummification and join us on Saturday, October 29, at 2:00 p.m. for Mummies Unwrapped with DMA curators Dr. Anne Bromberg and Dr. Kimberly Jones.

Coffin of Horankh, c. 700 B.C.E., wood, gesso, paint, obsidian, calicite, and bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, 1994.184

Coffin of Horankh, Egypt, Thebes, c. 700 B.C.E., wood, gesso, paint, obsidian, calicite, and bronze, Dallas Museum of Art, the Cecil and Ida Green Acquisition Fund, 1994.184

For the ancient Egyptians, it was necessary to preserve the body so that the spirit could live on in the afterlife. Cartonnages, or coffins, were often highly personalized with a likeness of the owner and his or her name. Some include stories about the gods or even protection spells for specific parts of the owner’s body.

Canopic jars each held one of the mummified organs of a deceased person—the heart, lungs, intestines, and stomach. The four figures carved into the lids of the jars served as protectors for the organs inside. Since the heart was believed to be integral to the final judgment of a person’s soul, it was one of the most important organs to preserve.

Mantle with Condors, 300–100 B.C.E., camelid fiber, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in memory of John O’Boyle, 1972.4.McD

Mantle with condors, Peru, South Coast, 300–100 B.C.E., camelid fiber, Dallas Museum of Art, The Eugene and Margaret McDermott Art Fund, Inc., in memory of John O’Boyle, 1972.4.McD

This mantle was part of a funerary bundle from a Paracas burial. The deceased person, posed in a fetal position, would be wrapped in up to dozens of layers of handwoven garments embroidered with intricate designs—in this case condors with outspread wings.

Standing Female Figure, 1400–1540, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, collection of Andrew D. Christensen, gift of J.D. Christensen, 1983.633

Standing female figure, Peru, Inka (Inca), 1400–1540, silver, Dallas Museum of Art, collection of Andrew D. Christensen, gift of J. D. Christensen, 1983.633

This small figurine is similar to those used in an Inca sacrificial ritual known as capacocha. The preserved remains of young men and women who participated in capacocha rituals have been found in the Andean peaks clothed in fine textiles and accompanied by both human and animal figurines.

Jessie Frazier is the Manager of Adult Programming at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Whiskered Deities

Cats are invading the DMA beginning this Sunday, October 9, when the Museum opens the nationally touring exhibition Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt. The exhibition features 80 objects from the world-renowned Egyptian collection of the Brooklyn Museum depicting cats and lions in ancient Egyptian mythology, kingship, and everyday life (and a few dogs too).

Below is an interview with DMA curator and avid cat-lover Dr. Anne Bromberg that was first published in the DMA Member magazine Artifacts. Mark your calendars for a cat-tastic night on Friday, October 21, during a special Late Night celebrating all things cat and Egypt. Listen to the purrrfect soundtrack to understand why cats are the Furry Conquerors of Culture, and follow the DMA on Spotify.

What are you most excited to present in this exhibition?
The ancient Egyptians were superb artists. Or perhaps one should say they were wealthy enough that they could afford to pay artists generously. The other interesting aspect is that for the Egyptians, cats were very important as divinities, as well as fun and delightful in ordinary life. I’ve said this to practically everybody, but cats have the closest brains to primates, or us, monkeys!

Sphinx of King Sheshenq, c. 945–718 B.C.E., bronze, Brooklyn Museum. Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 33.586

Sphinx of King Sheshenq, Egypt, Third Intermediate Period, c. 945–718 B.C.E., bronze, Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 33.586

Many people associate the ancient Egyptians with death or funerary rituals.
That’s partly because tombs were substantially built, so they survived. It’s clear from tomb paintings that the homes of the ancient Egyptians were equally glamorous, but almost none of that has survived.

What did this glamorous life look like?
They had beautiful clothes and were well fed. Furnishings of the everyday, as well as ritual objects, were exquisitely made. I’m sure they had trashy junk (because everyone does) but the impression you have is that the objects people lived with were really beautiful. The Egyptians believed that after death you could live forever in the land of eternal life. Part of the appeal of all Egyptian art, and certainly of this show, is that you see art made by people who believed you could take it with you.

Cat's Head, 30 B.C.E. to 3rd century C.E., bronze, gold, Brooklyn Museum. Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 36.114

Cat’s Head, Egypt, Roman Period, 30 B.C.E.-3rd century C.E., bronze and gold, Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 36.114

It’s impressive that the ancient Egyptian civilization lasted so long.
They were isolated to some degree, and they had a foolproof source of food with the Nile River. They were also extremely literate. People who conquered Egypt knew they were taking over one of the most sophisticated cultures in their world, so they allowed that culture to continue. This many-thousand-year continuity of culture did not disappear until the coming of the Christians, who were opposed to traditional Egyptian religious ideas.

Does any part of that culture persist today?
Something that has continued unabated from prehistoric times and up until today is the passion for cats. It is still a very pro-cat civilization.

Figure of a Cat, 305 B.C.E.–1st century C.E., wood (sycamore fig), gilded gesso, bronze, copper, pigment, rock crystal, glass, Brooklyn Museum. Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund , 37.1945E

Figure of a Cat, Egypt, Ptolemaic Period-Roman Period, 305 B.C.E.–1st century C.E., wood (sycamore fig), gilded gesso, bronze,rock crystal, and glass, Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 37.1945E

Kimberly Daniell is the Senior Manager of Communications, Public Affairs, and Social Media Strategy at the DMA.

Friday Photos: Dress Like an Egyptian

Ask any member of our Education Department: we love our props, and we LOVE dress-up! Luckily for us, our visitors do, too! No matter the age or the stage, we all have a blast getting into the spirit (and outfits) of our art.

Just this week, our Meaningful Moments group, led by our wonderful McDermott Intern Emily, got funky with the pharaohs in some hip headwear. Take a look!

Did you catch Pharaoh Alan putting bunny ears on Pharaoh Emily?

Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist

Walk Like an Egyptian

Happy Friday!  I was listening to my iPod this morning and the song “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles came on.  I decided this song would be my anthem for the day.  I couldn’t get the following lyric out of my head.
      

“All the old paintings on the tombs, they do the sand dance, don’t you know.  If they move too quick (Oh Way Oh), they’re falling down like a domino.”     

Here are a few artworks that caught my eye today.    

                  
Relief of a procession of offering bearers from the
tomb of Ny-Ank-Nesut, 2575-2134 BC, Painted Limestone
 
                                                             
Head and upper torso of                                                         Mummy Mask, Egyptian:
Seti I, 1302 – 1200 BC                                                         Probably 1st – 2nd century,
Granite                                                                                        Cartonnage, pigment, and
                                                                                             gold leaf, Dallas Museum of Art,
                                                                                          Gift of Elsa von Seggern, 1996.63
   
Next time you are in the Egyptian gallery, strike a pose and “Walk Like an Egyptian.”  (Oh Way Oh)    

        
Until next time….   

Jenny Marvel
Manager of Learning Partnerships with Schools  


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