“Over the past few years, Dartmouth’s resident Egyptologist Christine Lilyquist has spent tireless hours cataloging and researching Dartmouth’s collection of ancient Egyptian objects. Her work culminated in the creation of an exhibition designed to showcase the Hood’s distinguished collection of Egyptian artefacts. “Egyptian Antiquities at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art” opened last September in the Hood Museum’s Gunman Gallery, and the exhibition spotlights many artefacts from the College’s collection — previously hidden from public view — that span centuries of ancient Egyptian history.
When Lilyquist assembled the exhibition, she aimed to organize the objects by theme. For example, one section of the gallery is devoted to the various amulets worn by ancient Egyptians.
Another part of the exhibit showcases the museum’s collection of tomb items, which date back to the Middle Kingdom, which spanned the 21st through 17th centuries B.C. Among the items on display are an offering tray, which contained sacrificial items for the gods from the family of the deceased, and a funerary cone, a small clay cone inscribed with the title and name of the tomb owner that was placed over the entrance of the chapel of the tomb.
The exhibition also contains many votive objects from various Egyptian temples. Egyptian people participated in the life of a temple by depositing offerings to various deities, according to Lilyquist. One of the offerings, for example, is a statuette that shows the goddess Isis suckling the child and future pharaoh Horus. Egyptians also dedicated mummified human remains to the deities, according to Lilyquist.
Although removing these artefacts from Africa may not be the most authentic way to display them, there is still much that can be learned from Dartmouth’s Egypt collection, Lilyquist said.
‘I would have loved everything to stay in Egypt and for all the sand to be cleared away and for monuments to be reconstructed and preserved, but that certainly isn’t the reality of things,’ Lilyquist said. ‘I do think that in teaching collections and larger public institutions, there is a definite role that museum curators generally take very seriously of trying to teach from these objects. Still, these artefacts would have a totally different impact if seen in their natural environment. We miss all of that by going into the museum, but we are bound to examine the object much more closely this way.'” – via The Dartmouth.
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