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The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has one of the most important collections of ancient Egyptian art in the world. Much of the collection was obtained from excavations conducted by Dr. George A. Reisner, from 1905 to 1942, on behalf of the museum and Harvard University. Many exceptional works of art came to Boston through formal agreements with the Egyptian government.

According to the religion of the ancient Egyptians it was important that they be buried with the correct rituals together with food supplies and other basic necessities. These other “necessities” were part of the reason that the graves were later looted. In addition, these goods provide archaeologists with some insights into the daily lives of Egyptians, particularly high status Egyptians. Shown below are photographs of the some of the grave goods in the museum’s Egyptian collection.

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Originally posted to Ojibwa on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:27 AM PST.

Also republished by History for Kossacks, Pink Clubhouse, and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  When we visit the collections (17+ / 0-)

    My husband always asks, why is this stuff here?  Why isn't it in Egypt or whatever country it's from?  

    I offer a brief explanation of the relationship between colonialism and archeology, and how one person's grave robbery and plunder is another person's archeology.

    It doesn't really satisfy him.  But we are both awed by the sophistication of craftsmanship and artistry.  How many hours did it take to carve, to paint, to sculpt?  How many years apprenticeship to learn?  

    We do not forgive. We do not forget. The whole world is watching.

    by Tracker on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:35:22 AM PST

  •  What wonderful photographs, Ojibwa (15+ / 0-)

    Thank you for sharing this treat.  I always think of the hands that made these things, and of the people who might have been the real-life models for the human figures.

    Greatly enjoyed the pictures of Bastet, one of my favorite Egyptian deities.

    Although I understand why archaeologists dig, and how important it is to learn about the past, I still feel a pang on behalf of those whose preserved remains survived to be excavated.  They thought they were going to their eternal rest and would be left in peace; I can't help feeling guilty that their peace is being violated.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:40:03 AM PST

    •  But, if you view in their idea of afterlife and (9+ / 0-)

      eternity - the remains are enjoying a second life - they have continued to live on in the world.  They are in a way living forever.

      But, I do get your idea of eternal rest as well.

    •  Not necessarily.... (0+ / 0-)
      They thought they were going to their eternal rest and would be left in peace; I can't help feeling guilty that their peace is being violated.
      One of the last archaeological-themed shows I saw from England (BBC or History Channel - on YouTube, and there are several), dealt with the bones of men who died in battle.  Skulls were smashed in.  Ribs were broken.  Necks severed.  Spines severed.  Et cetera and so forth and so on.

      The skeletons had been dug up from a mass grave where they had been thrown like so much offal.  They were not "resting in peace," per se.  Not unlike the numberless thousands who perished in Nazi death camps.

      I daresay the old bones of the Anglo-Saxon or Viking or early British Celts were treated with a great deal more dignity by modern archaeologists than their bodies had been in life as they were buried.

      The "bonus" to that is the fact that sometimes they do DNA studies on the old bones, and from that vantage point more information can be garnered from them..., they get a 'second life' by giving information to modern researchers.

      As long as the old bones are treated with respect, I do not see the harm in learning from them (and in terms of men killed in battle, their bodies were not respectfully buried in those mass graves where they were dumped).

      I've left orders for my body to be cremated and my ashes scattered or buried.  However, I'm having second thoughts after entering the data of one relative in my genealogy program.  She had multiple health issues throughout life, and she suspected it was because of how she was treated when she was fostered out when her mother divorced her father (he was an alcoholic and abusive brute).  The foster family for her wasn't much better, and she ate poorly there, so she always felt that had much to do with her health issues.  She donated her body to science.  I'm thinking that might be a good thing (I've had back and knee surgery that might be interesting to study after I'm dead)..., but until or unless I finally make up my mind about that, my instructions are still for cremation.  I don't want my embalmed body leaving formaldehyde (a carcinogen) in the water table.  I think we should do like Europeans and let bodies decompose naturally.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 01:02:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ancient Egyptians being buried with grave goods (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in the belief they were going to their eternal rest are not in the same category as the broken bodies of slain warriors, left to fall where they may.  It's a shame the warriors' bodies weren't treated with more respect, but as they weren't buried properly, one could hardly help digging them up sooner or later while in quest of something quite different--a place to build a house or other type of building.

        On the subject of one's own remains, I thought most people in England chose to be cremated.  My mother left orders that we were to cremate her remains.  We did.  She also expressed the wish that her cremains be scattered in the vegetable garden so she could come back as a tomato.  I was unable to bring myself to do this, but we did bury some of her cremains at the site of a lilac we planted in her honor.

        "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

        by Diana in NoVa on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 09:11:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not sure about England (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I live in the US - MN.  Here we have a great many more than the 10,000 lakes our license plates and ads say we have, so I do worry about embalming fluid (formaldehyde - a carcinogen) seeping into the water table and poisoning everyone or causing birth defects and/or cancer in large numbers.

          In the Scandinavian countries and, (I'm led to believe) throughout most of Europe and the British Isles where arable land is at a premium, they don't create more graveyards.  There is no embalming and bodies are allowed to decompose naturally..., and unless a family pays for a plot and tends it, eventually it will be re-used again when enough time has passed and the flesh is no longer on the bones.  Yes, some do opt for cremation.  I think it's a viable option for those who don't want to rely on relatives or others to tend one's grave indefinitely.  One place in Europe made church artifacts of bones: Sedlec Ossuary, Kutná Hora, Kostinice, Czechoslovakia

          Visitors to the bone church often describe it as macabre, eerie or creepy and I once asked the lady at the desk if she ever felt bothered to be working there. She flipped her hand in a dismissive way and said “Pfft! They’re only bones, they won’t hurt you; it’s the living who scare me”.
          On the genealogy lists I'm on from the three Scandinavian countries, Americans seem horrified that there are no tombstones left to photograph 300 years after their first documented ancestors died.  It takes some getting used to for them to hear/read 'the graves are re-used.'  Apparently they've never read history books or historical novels or heard of charnel houses.  It doesn't sink in until a long time passes that when only 10% of a country is arable along the sea coast that it's more important to use land for farming and houses than it is to create graveyards that would expand to thousands of acres that couldn't support the living if they didn't limit the size of the graveyards and use the arable land for crops and dwellings.  Then re-using graves in cemeteries makes sense, even keeping a plot where the remains of loved ones from one family have been buried for centuries.

          I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

          by NonnyO on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 12:57:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for this Professor (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, Ojibwa

    wonderful and humbling.

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 10:49:13 PM PST

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