REALM OF OSIRIS: Art of the Egyptian Mummy
Hixenbaugh Ancient Art is pleased to present our current gallery exhibition: REALM OF OSIRIS: Art of the Egyptian Mummy.
On view from October 26 through November 18.
We are pleased to introduce our current exhibition, "Realm of Osiris: Art of the Egyptian Mummy." A great deal of artwork from ancient Egypt has come down to us by virtue of the fact that it was carefully placed in a tomb for use in the Afterlife. The great volume of Egyptian funerary art has often led modern observers to conclude that the ancient Egyptians were obsessed with death. In fact, the opposite was true. The Egyptians had grown accustomed to comfortable lives in a time when most of humanity was scratching out a short and difficult stone age existence. The Egyptians were among the first humans to live long and well. They quite literally wanted to take it with them when they passed away and entered the western realm of Osiris, lord of the Dead. To this end they developed over the course of more than two millennia, burial practices that were meant to ensure that their eternal afterlife would be filled with the familiar necessities and pleasures of their brief time in the realm of the mortals.
All manner of efforts were made to ensure that the soul would pass into the Afterlife and would be sustained there forever. The body was carefully mummified and placed within a sarcophagus, acting as a living statue of the deceased in which the spirit or Ba could reside. The Book of the Dead served as the written set of instructions for the deceased to pass the tests required to enter the Realm of Osiris. Amulets were worn to ensure all parts of the body were invigorated. Statuettes of servants or Ushabtis were produced in order to take the place of the deceased when physical labor was called for in the Afterlife. Taken to its extreme, Egyptians began to imagine the Afterlife as perhaps even superior to their day to day existence. The fields of cultivated crops grew to extraordinary heights, trees bore all variety of fruit, livestock and wild game were plentiful, and individuals were preserved perpetually in the prime of life.
In the exhibition we find the painted wooden sarcophagus of Irethorrou, son of Hetep-Amun. His expression is cheerful and the texts ask for, "a good burial and bread, beer, cattle, fowl, wine, milk, incense, alabaster, cloth and cool water..." The funeral cartonnage assemblage of Iset-Weret, depicts a serene individual with gilded face wearing a broad collar of jewels and flowers. The surface is painted with an array of scenes showing the gods Anubis, Nephthys and Isis attending to the burial. The spirit or Ba of Iset-Weret flies above the Mummy. The cartonnage assemblage of Ta-Di-Satet is very carefully painted in a limited palette of red, yellow and blue. The text proclaims, "Ta-Di-Satet, born of Khetta, your legs will not be impeded, your arms will not be restrained, as you go forth, O you will be with the Gods."
The exhibition includes a wide variety of Egyptian funerary art in a several media, including limestone, faience, wood, linen and bronze spanning a period of nearly three thousand years from the Pre-Dynastic Period to the Roman Period.