Beyond Beauty: Transforming the Body in Ancient Egypt opens on 30th January 2016 at the Two Temple Place in London. This major new exhibition allows us to experience the ancient Egyptians at their most spectacular and at their most intimate, uncovering a civilisation fascinated by appearance and identity both in life and death.
Rare surviving imagery on exquisite painted coffins, decorated funerary masks, delicate figurines and beautifully carved reliefs emphasise the importance of body image. Meanwhile jewellery, mirrors, hairpins, scent bottles and makeup provide an insight into some surprisingly familiar daily routines and the ever changing styles of the time. Through artefacts spanning over four millennia, from 3,500 B.C. to 400 A.D., the viewer is invited to ask why Egyptians cared so much about transforming the way they looked and how our perceptions are influenced by the objects they left behind.
Beyond Beauty is created by the Bulldog Trust in partnership with 7 museums from across the country. Many of the artefacts on display come from the same archaeological excavations, and are seen together collectively for the first time since their discovery by pioneering Victorian Egyptologists. Drawn from Bagshaw Museum (Kirklees Council), Bexhill Museum, Bolton Museum, Ipswich Museum, Macclesfield Museums, Royal Pavilion & Museums (Brighton & Hove) and Touchstones Rochdale, the exhibition includes the fascinating stories of how such objects reached their current UK homes, supported by outstanding original archival material.
Beyond Beauty is curated by Egyptologist Dr Margaret Serpico, with Heba Abd El Gawad, a PhD student in Egyptian Archaeology at Durham University (funded by Helwan University, Cairo) currently researching self-presentation in Ancient Egypt. It has been a long-standing aim of Dr Serpico to create such an exhibition: ‘The desire to unveil the fabulous objects held in these museums was borne out of a long term project to raise awareness of some of the 200 ancient Egyptian collections in the UK, many in regional museums. I have always been amazed by the many wonderful artefacts in these collections, objects that I wished could be seen by wider audiences. This exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate these collections and appreciate how important it is that we care for and preserve them into the future.’
Beyond Beauty will be accompanied by a programme of cultural events for both children and adults including Egyptian folkloric storytelling, lectures, traditional Egyptian music and craft workshops. In February a series of events celebrating modern Egypt will be hosted in collaboration with the Egyptian State Tourist Office.
Duration: Saturday 30th January – Sunday 24th April 2016
Opening Times: Monday, Thursday – Saturday: 10am – 4:30pm Wednesday Late: 10am – 9pm, Sunday: 11am – 4:30pm, Closed on Tuesday
Two Temple Place, London WC2R 3BD www.twotempleplace.org