Echoes of Egypt at The Yale Peabody
|Image-The New York Times|
"Echoes of Egypt: Conjuring the Land of the Pharaohs" is an exhibition running at The Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History situated at Yale University.
A review of the exhibition features in the New York Times:
"YOU WILL NOT FIND RECENT EXAMPLES of Egyptomania — theBangles’ “Walk Like an Egyptian,” say, or the street-dance known asTutting — in the “Echoes of Egypt” exhibition at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. But the long reach of Egyptian civilization comes through nonetheless, in nearly 100 fascinating and diverse objects documenting both the culture of ancient Egypt and the way it has reverberated in the West and in Islam through the ages.
To give it its full title, “Echoes of Egypt: Conjuring the Land of the Pharoahs” spans more than 2,000 years of cultural influence, beginning with the ancient Greeks and Romans, who were fascinated by the still-living heritage of the Nile River valley. By the sixth century, the Egyptian language and religion had faded into history, but its magnificent monuments, covered with inscrutable symbols, remained. They tantalized the thriving Muslim world and re-entered the European imagination during the Renaissance, through references in classical texts and art. But it was not until 1798, when Napoleon arrived in Egypt with troops and scientists, that the Western world embarked on its continuing romance with all things Egyptian.
Visitors enter “Echoes of Egypt” through a half-scale reproduction of the Egyptian-style gateway designed by Henry Austin in 1839 for the Grove Street Cemetery, a few blocks from the museum. The dim light may feel like a sly (and slightly annoying) tip of the hat to the aura of spookiness that often attends Egyptian antiquities in pop culture. (The squeamish may indeed want to bypass the section featuring an unwrapped mummy.) But it is in fact necessitated by the fragility of so many of the items on display.
Some of the ancient writings, on crumbling parchment and papyrus, date back thousands of years. A letter written around 1450 B.C. in the cursive, abbreviated hieroglyphics known as hieratic script details the payment of a debt; a seventh-century-or-so Coptic papyrus mixes Christian and Egyptian imagery in a magical spell meant to secure a woman’s love. Even the 1962 clipping from the New Haven Register announcing the imminent display at the Peabody of treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamen (admission charge, 50 cents) needs protection from bright light."