Reviews

‘A marvellous entry in this excellent series, one of those books that  you have to keep reading but hate to finish. Highly recommended.’ [Stage Fright]

- MYSTERY WOMEN

Egypt: Faith After the Pharaohs

egypt_composition_304Last week I visited this exhibition at the British Museum. It covers a period of twelve centuries from 30 BC, when Egypt became part of the Roman Empire, to AD 1171 and tells the story of the shift from the traditional worship of many gods to the monotheism. When Constantine was converted to Christianity, Christianity gradually became the dominant religion, only to be displaced by the Islamic invasion of the seventh century. There was also a Jewish community.

There is a lot to take on board from the informative panels and I imagesfound this fascinating, but of course the objects are the stars of the show: textiles, coins, manuscripts, jewellery, pottery. It wasn’t always the most precious or the showiest objects that have stuck in my mind. Egypt’s hot, dry climate allowed things to be preserved that in other cultures have vanished. It was touching to see a stripy child’s sock, a toy horse, and a mummy portrait of a little girl, who had died aged seven.

images-1Although there was occasional tension and violence between the different communities, there were long periods when the communities lived peacefully side by side and were influenced by each other in their arts and crafts.

I came out of the exhibition thinking of the words of the Quaker, William Penn, written in 1693, ‘The humble, meek, merciful, just, pious, and devout souls are everywhere of one religion: and when death has taken off the mask they will know one another, though the divers liveries they wear here makes them strangers.’ At the week-end after the events in Paris, it was good to hold on to this thought. The exhibition is a timely one and I recommend it. It runs until the 7 February.

2 Comments

  1. Martin Edwards
    November 20, 2015

    I definitely fancy taking a look at this. You’ve fired my interest!

    Reply
    • Christine Poulson
      November 21, 2015

      Great! By coincidence I got Agatha Christie’s Come Tell Me How You Live out of the library on the same day. So the exhibition, the book, and what is going on modern day Syria came together in an illuminating and fascinating way.

      Reply

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