Mummies Centerpoint of Ancient Egyptian Burial Rituals Exhibition at Ringling Museum
Oct. 18, 2008 - Jan. 11, 2009
Sarasota, FL—June 5, 2008 – Ancient Egyptian beliefs and preparations surrounding death and the afterlife will be illuminated in the exhibition To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum on display in the Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Oct. 18, 2008-Jan.11, 2009. The Brooklyn Museum's collection of ancient Egyptian art, one of the largest and finest in the United States, is renowned throughout the world.
“The mystery surrounding Egyptian’s burial customs and beliefs about death and the afterlife have always intrigued the modern world,” says Dr. Stephen Borys, Ulla R. Searing Curator of Collections at the Ringling Museum. “These beliefs and rituals were central forces in shaping their economic, social and religious lives and this exhibition will use antiquities from one of the most well-known collections in the world to shed light on this civilization.”
Belief in the afterlife, and that death was an enemy that could be vanquished, was fundamental to the ancient Egyptians. To ensure a successful transition form this life to the next, ancient Egyptians performed a variety of elaborate rituals before, during and after burial: these included mummifying the bodies of the dead. During their lives, ancient Egyptians amassed, a wide variety of objects such as statues, coffins, vessels and jewelry that were placed in their tombs to assist them in the journey to the afterlife.
The rituals and objects associated with death and burial reflect the socioeconomic status of the deceased and determined their status in the afterlife. While both the wealthy and the poor, who imitated the rich, participated in these beliefs and practices in hopes of ensuring themselves a better place and fate in the afterlife.
“One of the most spectacular aspects of this exhibition will be the breadth of objects,” says Dr. Virginia Brilliant, Assistant Curator of European Art and organizing curator at the Ringling Museum. “The Brooklyn Museum has taken great care acquiring and preserving these antiquities so that they can be used to tell the story of the ancient Egyptian civilization visually and materially.”
Comprised of more than 100 objects dating from 3600 B.C. to 400 A.D. the exhibition includes a mummy and portrait of Demetrios, a wealthy citizen of Hawara (95-100 A.D.), two mummies of dogs (664 B.C. – 395 A.D.), a painted coffin of a Mayor of Thebes (about 1075-945 B.C.), stone sculptures and statues, protective gold jewelry made for nobility, amulets, canopic jars used to store the body’s major organs removed from the body after death, and other ritual vessels.
To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum is organized by the Brooklyn Museum. A catalogue, authored by Edward Bleiberg, Curator of Egyptian Art at the Brooklyn Museum and published by the Brooklyn Museum in association with D. Giles Ltd., London, will accompany the exhibition.
Theater programs in the Historic Asolo Theater and educational programs for children and adults will correspond to the exhibition. Theater and educational programs are not included with admission.
The exhibition is funded, in part, by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts, by a grant from the Sarasota County Arts Council, Tourist Development Council, and the Sarasota Board of County Commissioners.