Where is our Bird Lady?

Many of you may be wondering where our beloved Female Figurine, nicknamed the “Bird Lady” is. One of the stars of our Egyptian collection, she normally greets visitors to the Egyptian Galleries’ Predynastic section and she’s the signature image for the second phase of our reinstallation, which opened in 2003. For this reason and because she is the most complete example of this type of figurine, the “Bird Lady” traditionally does not travel on loan to other institutions for special exhibitions, but she has taken her first voyage out of the Brooklyn Museum to be part of The Dawn of Egyptian Art, a very exciting exhibition on Predynastic art at the Metropolitan Museum.


Female Figure, ca. 3500-3400 B.C.E. Terracotta, painted, 11 1/2 x 5 1/2 x 2 1/4 in. (29.2 x 14 x 5.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 07.447.505

In addition to being stunningly beautiful and graceful, our “Bird Lady” is one of the most ancient objects in the Museum. She was excavated by Henri de Morgan in 1907 from Tomb 2 at the site of Ma’mariya in Egypt, which dates to about 5,500 years ago. Female Figurines of this type are extremely rare and this is the best preserved example. That is why we very much wanted her to be part of The Dawn of Egyptian Art exhibition.

The Dawn of Egyptian Art

The Dawn of Egyptian Art is on view at the Met from April 10 to August 5, 2012.

Several other important objects from the Predynastic (circa 4400-3100 B.C.E.) and Old Kingdom (circa 2675-2170 B.C.E.) sections of Egypt Reborn accompanied our Bird Lady across the river, so be on the lookout for Brooklyn Museum objects just across the way.