The Frist Center for the Visual Arts
again welcomes a spectacular exhibition of Egyptian art and artifacts as To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum opens in the Ingram Gallery Oct. 7, 2011, and remains on view through Jan. 8, 2012.
To Live Forever was organized by the Brooklyn Museum and includes 119 objects selected from its renowned collection of ancient Egyptian art.
It is so exciting to have our second major Egyptian exhibition at the Frist Center, said Executive Director Susan H. Edwards, Ph.D. The allure of Egypt is wonderfully compelling, as we learned in 2006 when The Quest for Immortality: Treasures of Ancient Egypt was on view at the Frist. People are utterly fascinated by this most-ancient civilization. To Live Forever offers a different context from which to view and learn more about ancient Egyptians and the belief system they shared, rich and poor, alike.
One of the primary cultural tenets through thousands of years of ancient Egyptian civilization was a belief in the afterlife and the view that death was an enemy that could be vanquished. To Live Forever includes objects that illustrate a range of strategies the ancient Egyptians developed to defeat death. It explores mummification and the rituals performed in the tomb to assist the deceased in defying death, as well as examining what the Egyptians believed they would find in the next world.
Tombs and mummification rituals were not solely reserved for pharaohs and Egyptian royalty; Egyptians of various classes also prepared for the afterlife, although with far less opulence.
To Live Forever explores the economics of the Egyptian funeral and contrasts how rich and poor, according to their means, prepared for the hereafter. Egyptian funerals are examined with examples of the ways the poor tried to imitate the costly appearance of the grave goods of the wealthy in order to ensure a better place in the afterlife.
The exhibition is a study in contrasts. Visitors will be able to compare finely painted wood and stone coffins made for the rich with the clay coffins the poor made for themselves; masterfully worked granite vessels with clay vessels painted in imitation, and gold jewelry created for nobles with earthenware amulets fashioned from man-made turquoise substitutes.
Objects on view include the vividly painted coffin of a mayor of Thebes; the mummy and mummy portrait of Demetrios, a wealthy citizen of Hawara; the Bird Lady, one of the oldest preserved statues from all Egyptian history and a signature Brooklyn Museum object; a painted limestone relief of Queen Neferu; a gilded, glass and faience mummy cartonnage (mask fashioned of plastered layers of papyrus or fiber) of a woman; the elaborately painted shroud of Neferhotep; a gilded mummy mask of a man; and a gold amulet representing the human soul.