My family and I took a trip to the Michael C. Carlos Museum
at Emory University
in Atlanta, GA, last weekend. We had a great time, saw some absolutely beautiful examples of ancient art, and even walked in on a ceremony being held by Tibetan Buddhist monks to mark the end of an exhibit of Tibetan art at the museum. For a relatively small museum, the collection was of very satisfactory size. Some pictures I took as we enjoyed our visit (along with some commentary, from memory and so probably mistaken on at least a few points):
An Egyptian tomb painting. I’m no expert (okay, not even a novice) in ancient Egyptian art so my opinion is relatively uninformed, but my guess is that the woman depicted here is a courtesan or lower-class woman of some sort. I base this conjecture on her skin color (women are generally shown as light-skinned whereas men are dark-skinned in Egyptian art, probably because men would have spent more time in the sun and women, at least of the upper classes, would have spent the better portion of their time indoors) and the fact that her breast is revealed (Egyptian women are always depicted fully covered whereas men are depicted with bare chests and short skirts). She also appears to be playing an instrument of some type, which is another give away. If anyone knows more about Egyptian art, I’d be interested to hear if my conjecture is right or wrong, and how much so in either direction.
Another Egyptian tomb painting; this one is of a husband and a wife. You can see here depicted the contrast between dark males and light-skinned females which I mentioned above; the husband (in front) is dark-skinned whereas the wife (in back) in fair-skinned.
The Tibetan Buddhist ceremony that we walked in on. It was very interesting to watch, especially given some reading I’ve done on the influence of Nestorian Christian liturgical practice (such as the Liturgy of Ss. Addai and Mari) on Tibetan Buddhist ritual. I could certainly see the points of similarity between Eastern Christian ritual and Tibetan Buddhist ritual.
A Roman (second century) bust of Tiberius Caesar.
My little classicist-in-training admiring some ancient Greek pottery.
An Egytian grave stele:
The entrance of the Michael C. Carlos Museum with random man standing in front:
The mummy of a woman from ancient Egypt. As this was my first time seeing a mummy “in person” (so to speak), I was particularly surprised at how short she was; of the six mummies at the museum, not one of them was more than about five feet tall.
Another mummy, this one of a man and still bearing some of the decorations that accompanied ancient Egyptian burial.
An ancient Greek depiction of Medusa.
My kids enjoying their trip through history.
An Ethiopian Orthodox Christian processional cross.
An Ethiopian Orthodox icon, 16th century if I recall correctly. With an entire floor dedicated to Africa, I was disappointed that they did not have more items from Ethiopia.
A Roman copy of a Greek original statue of Aphrodite.
It appears that ancient Egyptians had as much affection for their pets as do modern Americans; these are animal mummies, wrapped, decorated, and honored in a similar manner to their human counterparts. I can’t remember, unfortunately, what the one on the left at the bottom is, but the two others at bottom are both falcons (interestingly, the lower one, as you can see from the picture, is shaped and decorated to look like a human, whereas the other is allowed to remain a falcon in its shape and decoration) and the one at top right is a small (baby?) crocodile.
An Egyptian tomb painting from Alexandria in the period of Roman occupation (first century CE, if memory serves):
A grave marker, of Syrian Roman origin and bearing a partial bust of the deceased, second century CE: