Andrea Byrnes

Meretseger: She Who Loves Silence. The Cobra Deity at Deir el-Medina

Meretseger: She Who Loves Silence. The Cobra Deity at Deir el-Medina

In the Western world the cobra rarely inspires sentiments of benevolence, warmth or good intentions. It is not a cuddly beast. Matters were more ambivalent in ancient Egypt where a range of wild animals were identified with deities imbued with admired values of physical strength, protection and courage, as well as less obviously admirable qualities like aggression, retribution, vengeance and retaliation. Like Sobek, the crocodile deity, and Sekhmet the lioness, the cobra deities comprised a mixture of attributes that centred on their fierce ability to defend themselves and to strike, hissing and spitting poison, to annihilate their aggressors.  [more…]

Nebamun hunting in the marshes

The paintings from the lost tomb-chapel of Nebamun

The paintings from the tomb of Nebamun are justifiably famous for their beauty and incredible dynamism. The British Museum purchased the panels that it has in 1821 . They were located by a Greek tomb robber named Giovanni d’Athanasi, who worked as an agent for Henry Salt in Luxor. Unfortunately d’Athanasi was angered by the finder’s fee offered and he refused to give up the location of the tomb from where the panels had been removed. The location of the chapel remains unknown to this day. [more…]

Edition - February, 2014

Ancient Egyptian Cosmetic Spoons of the New Kingdom

Ancient Egyptian Cosmetic Spoons of the New Kingdom

I was in the Louvre in Paris recently and was impressed by the exhibit of cosmetic spoons, so beautifully carved and so sinuously expressive. Although they are usually referred to as cosmetic, ointment or unguent spoons, their function has never been definitively established and they come in a variety of forms. This short article is a brief introduction to a much wider topic. [more…]

Marianne Brocklehurst

Marianne Brocklehurst and the West Park Museum, Macclesfield. Part 2

In part 1 I looked at how Marianne Brocklehurst acquired a collection of some 500 Ancient Egyptian objects during the three trips to Egypt that she records in her diary, cartoons, sketches and watercolours. In this section I look at the museum and the collection that Marianne and her brother Francis built for the benefit of the residents of Macclesfield in northwest England. [more…]