The Introductory Gallery
Entering the introductory gallery of Egypt Reborn, visitors find themselves in a large, colorful, porticoed hall. The ceiling design is based on a nineteenth-century artist's imitation of an astronomical calendar that once decorated the ceiling of the main temple of the goddess Hathor in southern Egypt. The blue circle, surrounded by various gods and goddesses, represents the night sky. The odd creatures shown within it are ancient Egyptian zodiac signs.
The large central space in this gallery contains a variety of statues and paintings ranging in date from the earliest Old Kingdom (circa 2675 B.C.E.) to the period of Roman domination (fifth century C.E.). To the modern viewer, they all look Egyptian, but in fact these works reveal one of the eternal mysteries of ancient Egyptian art and culture–the combination of the ideas of permanence and change. As Egypt changed over the centuries, so too did its art and other aspects of its culture.
Various aspects of Egyptian culture are illustrated in the cases and text panels around the portico. Themes include Egypt's relationships with other Africans, the early environment, religious beliefs, language and writing, and technology and materials. Additional cases contain examples of the material culture, such as furniture, metalwork, tools and weapons, and stone and pottery vessels.
Next: Early Egypt