02 October 2014

Drawing in the Petrie Museum

Knowing that there were collections of necklaces in this Egyptology museum, I took along some coloured pencils, but having settled down at a table beside a display case, used them to draw the pots.

It was a way to get started. The room was chilly, so a bit of walking about and looking around was called for, during which I started this page (at the bottom) and then found the copper jug with its arrangement of holes-both-sides.
After that it was a search for more broken, mended, and holey items.

The museum is amazingly crowded, and helpful labels have started appearing. Also in recent times, better lighting has been installed.
Currently there's a display of shabtis, the tomb figures that traditionally provided the  all you need in the afterlife -
The artist, Zahed Taj-Eddin, imagines there is no afterlife and no labours for them to perform, so the shabtis are free to do whatever they like. Some are happy with shopping and gadgets; others search for freedom and liberty ... reflecting the complications and contradictions of the world in which we currently operate. The also embody the secrets of Egyptian faience, which is based largely on crushed quartz, combined with small amounts of the ashes of desert plants or the salts of dried-up lakes. Small amounts of copper produce the blue colour, and other oxides can be used for other colours. Zahed, who is also an archaeologist, spent four years understanding ancient faience and developing an ideal faience recipe. After making the shabti, he made a giant column, 2.2m tall, larger than any faience object surviving from antiquity, which can also be seen at the Petrie Museum.

The shabti exhibition is on till 18 October, and the museum, somewhat hidden in the labyrinth of UCL, is open 1-5 Tues-Sat.

1 comment:

Olga Norris said...

Such a rich area for hidden treasures - I used in a previous life to spend a lot of time in the Folklore Society library in Warbug Square, and never knew that the Petrie Museum was up the road and round several corners.