Friday, November 29, 2013

PARIS - The Louvre's Small Antiquities

Cast your mind back to the days of the pharoahs, and let your mind imagine what these carved art works were used for. The quality is excellent; the tools were ancient.




Louvre Museum Antiquities, Paris, by DG Hudson

The carved tablets, the ivory-colored carved face mask or shard, and the finely carved or modelled statues of oxen illustrate artistic skill.

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Egyptian artifacts such as those shown in the photo below show the fascination other cultures have had for the feline species. The earliest appearance of cats as deities is around 3100 BC. The goddess Bastet* was originally depicted as a lioness, as was Sekhmet.* Bastet later was shown with a cat face, while Sekhmet stayed a lioness.





Egyptian Antiquities, Louvre Museum, Paris by DG Hudson


Praised for controlling vermin (rats, etc) and the ability to kill cobras and other snakes, domesticated cats became a symbol that was worshipped in Ancient Egypt. Felines have been around a long time, possibly 10,000 years according to recent DNA tests.

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Turquoise and Lapis lazuli were preferred for use in many of the ancient designs. We can glimpse antiquity, a time far removed from today, when we view these art works. Here is evidence that it existed. Cast pieces and carved pieces have survived due in part to the protection of the museums and galleries where they are shown.



Antiquities, Louvre Museum, Paris, by DG Hudson


Antiquities items in the following image show detail in the crafting of the pipe and the smoothness of the metal, both achieved with the same finesse as the ceramic artifacts. The cast figures are quite detailed in both the displays, above and below.




Egyptian Antiquity artifacts, Louvre in Paris, by DG Hudson


Museums collect and protect our history.  If you are a writer, you should frequent any location that gives you information on 'what was'.  To write 'what may come to be' (scifi) or to write 'what has already been' (historical), you must know your beginnings. Of course, that's my take on museums and how they relate to writing.

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Were these small artifacts created for nobility only? Did they come from a household or from a tomb? What history hides behind these artifacts? Have you watched Museum Secrets?

http://museumsecrets.tv/episode.php?ep=2
Museum Secrets: The Louvre

Please share your thoughts in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

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References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Louvre#Egyptian_antiquities
Egyptian antiquities at the Louvre

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cats_in_ancient_Egypt
Cats in Egypt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bastet
Bastet, the Cat Goddess in ancient Egyptian religion in Lower Egypt

* Bastet was the equivalent to Upper Egypt's Sekhmet, before the two regions joined forces.

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24 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed seeing your photos of the Egyptian artifacts. You are absolutely correct that writers should take a look at artifacts when doing research for their stories that include ancient history.

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    1. I could have enjoyed working in a museum.

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  2. I often go to museums to form a perspective on the future world I write about, since it's set in a semi-primitive "post-apocalyptic" era without mechanical conveniences.

    And great artifacts there. Always amazed at the craftsmanship of antiques that were created with simple tools.

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    1. In future worlds, we have to decide what to keep of the old technology or what is discovered that supercedes old tech. In a primitive society it's good to know what tools they were capable of making.

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  3. I agree that learning about the past is something writers can only benefit from. For me, personally, I get great story ideas from fascinating things I learn about, even if it's just a detail that sets off a larger tale. And I'm a history geek, honestly, so I'd partake either way. I especially enjoy learning little known facts from history.

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    1. Seeing something in a museum can be a catalyst for an idea. It can also trigger research I hadn't planned on.

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  4. Never watched the show, but historical stuff like this is fascinating. I like knowing the history of a piece. And it's just amazing what they were able to create thousands of years ago.

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    1. I wonder if our art works of today will survive as long? Makes me wonder how digital art is kept for future use. . .

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  5. What stunning photos. Curiously, I have been working all month on DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE, a tale of an Egyptian antiquarian excavation in 1895 with Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Nikola Tesla, my Samuel McCord, and his mysterious wife Meilori (who was worshipped in Ancient Egypt as Sekhmet)

    Politics, bribery, death, and unnatural goings-on ensue.

    I would so love to tour the antiquites section at the Louvre! I might even meet Meilori looking at some of her lost trinkets!

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    1. Well, here are some examples, Roland, hope they help fire your imagination. Wouldn't that be a great scene - Meilori in the Louvre. . .? Interesting that she was Sekhmet in another time and place. . .intriguing. I'm can't wait to read your new story.

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  6. Hi, DG…

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are enjoying the weekend.

    LOVE the LOUVRE and EGYPTIAN art. So incredible and BEAUTIFUL. The stylized figures and lines laced with gold and semi precious stones give us such an amazing look into the ambiance, grace, and lifestyle of that era.

    Museums hold so much intrigue, mystery, and culture. Imagine the stories behind EACH piece. Take about a writer's paradise.

    Hope all is well...

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    1. Yes, a writer's and an artist's paradise - that's it.

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  7. So much intricate detail, yet no lasers to be found. Incredible.

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    1. I have lasers in my scifi, Milo, but perhaps it was a good thing they didn't have lasers 'before their time'.

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  8. How interesting and this post coincides with a manuscript I just finished reading where Bastet figures prominently. I keep thinking I should visit our local museum here in town, so far I haven't, but I really should.

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    1. I love it when coincidence happens, Inger. Yes, I agree, visit your museum, and share what you find. Just ask if photo taking is okay, as some museums don't allow it.

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  9. I'm in the middle of writing about 19th cent. sailing ships, so I took tour of the USS Constitution to get my "history" straight. I wish I could see it in person (Boston). Make my ship building so much easier.

    I love museums. Could spend days there.

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    1. Hands-on research, the best kind, Anne! Good luck with your ship-building.

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  10. I'd think those types of things were made only for the wealthy or nobility. Most likely. The craftsmanship is outstanding. I'm slightly... ok very... obsessed with Sumer, and I know they were very big on lapis lazuli too.

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    1. I like both lapis and turquoise. We're all obsessed with something Mary! Hope you'll share some of that research one day.

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  11. Things were made to last back then. I don't suspect there will be much evidence of our time ... apart from the occasional breast implant and a pile of plastic bags in the ocean.

    Interesting post. Thanks.

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    1. Not the kind of artifacts I'd go see. I hope you're wrong, Wendy.

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  12. Ohhhh, but I loved this post. We lived in Cairo for a year. A fav haunt was the National Museum. And, I also hope Wendy's wrong but have a nagging feeling she's right if we don't get our collective act together.

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  13. The Egyptian treasures always seem to be among the most intriguing in any museum that has them. Gotta love a culture that prizes art and cats.

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