Extensive display of artifacts, art and more from Pharaoh Ramses II’s wife at the Portland Art Museum.
According to history, Pharaoh Ramses II, ruler of Egypt for 66 years in the 13th century and considered the most powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom, had several wives.
But, he apparently had a favorite, and that was Queen Nefertari, known as the Great Royal Bride. Ramses II himself called her “She for whom the sun shines”.
The Portland Art Museum brings Nefertari to life with the exhibition “The Egypt of Queen Nefertari”, which celebrates the roles of women – goddesses, queens and commoners – and offers a glimpse into royal life and life. daily of artisans through more than 220 works of art, courtesy of Museo Egizio in Turin, Italy, housing the exhumed treasure of the palaces, tombs and burial chamber of Queen Nefertari.
It opens on Saturday October 16 and runs until January 16, 2022.
The women of ancient Egypt were active participants in most aspects of society, from the fields to the courtroom to temples and palaces. Nefertari was highly regarded and educated, and because she knew how to read and write hieroglyphics, she aided the pharaoh in his diplomatic work.
“She had a special place in her life, her society and her culture,” said Brian Ferriso, director of the Portland Art Museum and chief curator.
From the museum’s advertising:
“A colossal temple was built in honor of Nefertari at Abu Simbel, and his tomb in the Valley of the Queens, which was rediscovered by Italian archaeologist Ernesto Schiaparelli in 1904, is known for his vivid art.
“Sometimes referred to as ‘the Sistine Chapel of Egypt’, Nefertari’s tomb is the most richly decorated in the Valley of the Queens, with brilliantly painted scenes featuring winged gods and goddesses, animals, insects and hieroglyphics illustrating the complex process of passage through the underworld to eternal life. ”
The exhibition includes personal items from the tomb of Nefertari and an array of artefacts from royal and everyday life in Egypt during the 19th Dynasty of the New Kingdom (1292-1189 BC) as well as fragments of the massive granite sarcophagus lid. rose of Nefertari, wooden “shabtis” (small figures that carried out work in the afterlife) and a gold and earthenware amulet in the shape of a “djed” pillar (symbol of stability).
There are 8 foot tall stone carvings dominating the room, and things as small as a pair of sandals (size 9 for American women) and makeup.
“The sun was so intense, the makeup around the eyes was not just for the adornment but for the shade of the brightness,” Ferriso said. “You have household things that helped adorn the body, and part of it was for protection. The drawings show that she is well groomed.”
Also museum advertising:
“The exhibition explores the role of women in religion, life in the royal house of women and their rituals of beauty and adornment. Musical instruments, bronze mirrors, boxes and jars for cosmetic powders and ointments and precious jewelry offer a glimpse into women’s lives and notions of beautification.
“Visitors will also discover the village of Deir el-Medina, where artisans lived and worked, creating elaborate tombs and materials needed for the afterlife. ‘The Egypt of Queen Nefertari’ includes household items, tools such as paintbrushes and draftsman’s sticks, pickaxes and scissors, ostraca (limestone or pottery sketchbooks of ancient Egyptian scribes and artists) and funerary votive statues that give an idea of how people lived, worked and practiced religion over 3,000 years ago. ”
The Portland Art Museum has been striving to attract “the Egypt of Queen Nefertari” for many years, Ferriso said.
“It is one of the largest collections of Egyptian art outside of Egypt,” he said. “More than 100 years ago, there is this idea of” sharing “(from the French word” to share “or” to share “) and of countries collaborating with Egypt for the exploration, the excavations, the research. and sharing. ”
It’s important to consider Nefertari and its role, as well as ancient Egypt, in today’s context, Ferriso said.
“Looking at the Egyptians through the lens of a woman and a queen is important and meaningful, and certainly relevant when we think of the world today,” Ferriso said.
“This is such a significant moment in time, as we move through these spaces and feel good about the world. We are struggling to navigate the pandemic, social unrest (and) climate change, and it’s really important to realize the cultures, people and connections we have with places in time. We have this shared humanity and we need to reflect. I find this heartwarming, humbling and confirming the importance of our humanity, to think about shared humanity. “
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