The exhibition will take you on a journey through two thousand years of fascination with ancient Egypt, the land of the pharaohs. Visitors will enter through a reproduction of the Egyptianizing gateway that is the entrance to New Haven’s Grove Street Cemetery (designed by Henry Austin in 1839), and then discover how a culture that flourished thousands of years ago has impacted our own world. Echoes of ancient Egypt appear in art, architecture, and literature around the world from ancient Africa to medieval Europe and the Middle East, to modern North America
Highlights include a section on the examination of the meaning and changing uses of hieroglyphs, together with an exploration of Egyptosophy, the use of the magic and religious symbolism of ancient Egypt in later cultures. And, of course, no display on Egypt would be complete without mummies, here not treated as oddities but explained as examples of the Egyptian fascination with regeneration through decay. A centerpiece will be a diorama showing a scene from a 19th century “mummy unwrapping” event in Philadelphia, complete with a mummy from the Barnum Museum and an invitation from the American Antiquarian Society. The exhibit includes artifacts from collections at Yale and around the country, together with a unique copy of a medieval Arabic attempt to translate hieroglyphs (on loan from the Bibliothèque nationale de France) that has never before been seen in the United States. Small “magical gems” from the Yale Babylonian Collection will appear alongside papyri and antique books from the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, and ancient Egyptian objects from the Peabody Museum and Yale University Art Gallery will illustrate paintings and books from the the Yale Center for British Art and the Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University. Other Egyptianizing objects and paintings include loans from the Crocker Art Museum, the Dahesh Museum of Art, the Henry Art Gallery Collections, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Princeton University Art Museum. Previously unexplored aspects of Egyptian revival include objects from the ancient Sudan made in Egyptian style and a unique 13th century Italian sphinx that has been reproduced using cutting-edge 3-D printing technology.
For thousands of years, ancient Egypt has echoed around the world—come and explore this ground-breaking exhibit and learn about this almost universal phenomenon.