An Artistic Survey of the History of Ancient Egypt

New catalog of the Egyptian galleries at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, now available

An Artistic Survey of the History of Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt and Nubia provides an overview of the history of ancient Egypt, as well as a catalog of the stunning objects on display in the newly redesigned Egyptian gallery of the Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, England).

The Ashmolean Museum (Oxford, England) has displayed artifacts relating to the history of ancient Egypt since its inauguration in 1683—more than 120 years before Champollion announced the decipherment of hieroglyphs in 1822, thereby launching Egyptology as an academic subject. The introduction to this catalog is titled “Egypt in Oxford,” but it could just as easily have been called “Oxford in Egypt,” as it recounts British travels, explorations and excavations over the centuries that have contributed to the collections of the Ashmolean Museum. Oxford has one of the finest collections of Egyptian antiquities outside of Egypt.

Published as a celebration of the redesign and reinstallation of the Ashmolean’s core gallery devoted to the history of ancient Egypt (now the Sackler Gallery of Egyptian Antiquities), this catalog—as well as the permanent exhibit on which it is based—offers a glimpse at countless attractive and intriguing artifacts from Egypt and Nubia that had previously been relegated to storage rooms. Spanning from Predynastic Egypt (c. 5300 B.C.) to the Arab Conquest (641 A.D.) and beyond, the pages of this volume are filled with color photos of finely carved statues, reliefs and amulets, as well as painted vases, sarcophagi and much more. A series of Coptic Christian tapestry-woven textiles from the eighth–tenth centuries depict colorful scenes from the Bible, including episodes from the Joseph story in Genesis (apparently a local favorite due to its connection with Egypt) as well as a roundel of the creation of man in Genesis 2:7.

With helpful maps, timelines and a glossary of terms, this catalog offers a fascinating survey of the long, rich history of ancient Egypt.

Based on Catalog Capsule, “Ancient Egypt and Nubia,” Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April 2012.

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