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.
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.
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.
Egyptologist Yekaterina Barbash joined the Brooklyn Museum in 2008. A onetime intern in the Museum’s department of Egyptian, Classical, and Ancient Middle Eastern Art, Barbash received a Ph.D. in ancient Egyptian history, Art, and Philology from the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, where she was also awarded an M.A. She is the recipient of a B.A. from New York University and has studied at the Netherlands Institute of Archaeology and Arabic Studies in Cairo, Egypt. Dr. Barbash has taught at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Berkeley College, The College of New Jersey, and Staten Island CUNY. She has been a member of the Johns Hopkins University expedition to the Mut Precinct in Karnak, Egypt, where the Brooklyn Museum also maintains an excavation, and was a researcher at the Walters Art Museum.