2/19/11

Ancient Egypt At The Met

The Tomb of Perneb beckons visitors to ancient Egypt at the Met

A year ago, I visited Cairo's Egyptian Museum which recently became part of the news due to its location in Tahrir Square (the site of the revolution which ousted Mubarak). Unfortunately, pictures were not allowed inside  the museum so I was left with nothing but just flashing memories of the incredible treasures I saw. Feeling itchy to see Egyptian antiquities again without actually flying to Cairo, I decided to revisit one of the world's best museums - the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met - in New York City. Thankfully, photography is allowed as long as no flash is used.


Suggested entrance fee at the Met is $20, quite hefty knowing that most big museums in both Washington, DC & London are free but my way around this is simply to offer $5 to the cashier who accepts it anyway. With my pin (the color of which is changed at random everyday), I now have access to a mind-boggling display of art collections that span thousands of years. Established in 1870, the Met has grown in size over the years, with the current building now offering a staggering  floor space of more than 2 million square feet. Which means, to explore the Met comfortably, one has to wear good walking shoes.


While the Met's Egyptian collection is I believe second only to that of London (Cairo has the biggest of course), the display consisting of 40 galleries is still extensive. Many of these were acquired when the museum conducted archaeological excavations in Egypt while the rest came from private collections. But of all things brought to New York, nothing can compare to the Temple of Dendur, truly the museum's highlight and a personal favorite. This ancient sandstone temple used to stand in Nubia, in the southern part of Egypt. 

The Temple of Dendur

When the Aswan High Dam was being built in the 1960s, many ancient monuments lying in low ground were threatened to be submerged, including Dendur and the colossal Abu Simbel. The US helped the Egyptian government relocate Abu Simbel to its present site, now one of Egypt's top attractions. As a big token of Egypt's appreciation, the Temple of Dendur was given to the US. Dismantled block by block from its original site, the whole thing was shipped to New York where it now stands at the Sackler Wing of the Met.

I don't want this in my living room
Closer look at the Temple
A New Yorker's 1891 graffiti on the Temple is now back in New York!
Haremhab - the General who became King
Sarcophagus
Layers cover the dead before it gets inside the sarcophagus
The Tiffany's of ancient Egypt
Golden slippers to help walk in the afterlife
Royal rings
Ancient text written on papyrus
Statues of Hatshepsut - the female Pharaoh


12 comments:

  1. eto isa sa mga pangarap ko. kala ko date dahil anthro pinili kong kurso eh makakarating na ako jan. d pala. cguro kelangan ko mag MBA ng archeo para makarating ako jan ng free. hehe

    I'm happy for Egypt as well as for Wael of Google when I read the news.But its just the beginning of the end, I hope the military leaders now are truly committed to a democratic civilian transition.

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  2. I've been there twice, the last time being last July. I definitely wore comfy walking shoes. It's so large that when I visited the first time in 2006, and met an old friend at the same time, I didn't have enough time, since I was juggling my attention between her and the museum. It's such a large cultural institution!

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  3. Amazing how they were able to ship the Temple of Dendur all the way to US.

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  4. whoa, super huge museum! well i wouldnt mind walking around here, fascinating ang history and architectural design.

    @ga-el, haha naalala kita. pinilit mong magpababa sa driver nung nasa Rizal tayo!

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  5. The temple is absolutely magnificent...completely enjoyed looking at all your pics!

    The first one of the woman and her kiddo walking into the ruins (though in a museum) is superb!

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  6. Wow...what an impressive museum !
    And it houses a whole temple !?

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  7. Arceli Alegadᚐ7:26:00 PM

    so glad you featured the Met and its Egyptian collection. i so love it. Though I think all of Met's collections are worth writing about. Been there twice already and time (1.5) days still wasnt enough (im the type who likes to read the info... of every single museum display, so a day in a museum is never enough for me anyway). The Met is one of the places I would highly recommend to anyone visiting New York. Love the Temple of Dendur and their collection of Egyptian sarcophagi. I took lots of pictures too, but i got pinged for touching a sarcophagus :}

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  8. sulit na sa USD 20!
    imagine, egypt was brought to you!

    nice take on the reflection of the temple on waters...
    *i'm learning, dennis!*

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  9. that's a hefty entrance fee, but i'm sure that the exhibit is well worth it.

    i like the stairway photo.

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  10. i didnt know those piece can still be very beautiful even inside the museum. if i had the chance, ill definitely visit it.

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  11. Definitely a glimpse of Egypt's rich history and culture.. Hopefully there would be an available cheapest way to Egypt to see the ancient pyramids for myself.. :)

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  12. Buti na lang pumayag na silang magpadala ng camera. Sana ganito din kaganda ang mga museums sa atin. Parang ang susi ay ang lighting.

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