Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ancient Egypt as Represented in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

William Stevenson Smith, Ph. D.
New York Graphic Society
Library of Congress Card No. 60-13944

I am a huge fan of "The Giza Archives Project" and "The Boston Museum of Fine Arts" so that when I was in a used bookstore recently and found this 1960 printing by William Stevenson Smith I put aside the book I was reading and went directly to this one.

At less than 200 pages the book was a relief from the giants I have been reading recently. Ancient Egypt starts off interesting and thorough in its facts without the unnecessary depth of minutia the author's words are accompanied by a good selection of objects from the Boston museum's collection.

The chronological order of the book is fortunate as Boston's museum has one of the finest collections of Old Kingdom artifacts outside of Cairo so the book heads almost immediately into some of the museums finest masterpieces including the bust of Prince Ankh-haf and the statues of King Mycerinus.

The author then gives a good narrative of the Middle Kingdom and the museum's collection from that period including the outer cedar coffin of Djehuty Nakht considered the finest painted wooden coffin of the age and the many models found in that tomb including the extremely rare brick makers, one of only three examples ever found and though unmentioned Djehuty Nakht's head.

As a huge fan of this museum and the bulletins from the Harvard excavations from the early twentieth century I was expecting some of those great moments but was pleased that the book has plenty of details, I have not read before.

The periods of the New Kingdom, and the Late Period were well written and accompanied by some superb objects including the sarcophagus' of Kings Thutmosis I from the Valley of the Kings and that of the Nubian King Aspelta.

This book was an excellent rundown of the history of Egypt with a fine look at this most important of collections written by the finest of Egyptologists.

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