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  • Back to Ancients/Basics

    By Edmund Connolly, on 13 December 2013

    by guest blogger: Helen Pike

    Feeling the stress of Christmas, blitzed out on overpriced gaudy baubles, one too many festive drinks on the calendar, need a restorative notion …. then take a tour round the Petrie museum this December time and contemplate a more ancient approach to soothe your furrowed brows…

    Why not deck the halls with thoughts of the Amarna temple wall tiles

    A colourful array of Amarna tiles. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

    A colourful array of Amarna tiles. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

    These tiles were found at Amarna capital of the heretic Pharaoh Akenaten with his missus the renowned beauty Nefertiti -who both knew a thing or two about decoration preferring to chuck out the chintz if you like and gods of previous dynasties and bring in a revolution in terms of artistic production and new idols – the sprit of Aten. The tiles in the Petrie collection are exquisite in terms colour and pattern and conjure up what must have been a spectacular wall covering in the temple. Take a leaf out of the master of sun worship and reinvent your home your own way this Christmas with a new take on décor and not be swayed by the gaudy baubles out there…Give the gift of incense

    A ceramic incense burner. UC65207 Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

    A ceramic incense burner. UC65207 Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

    The Ancient Egyptians were big on incense but it took a lady Pharaoh the indomitable Hatshepsut on what we could say was an extended shopping trip to the disputed location of Punt, thought to be located at the southern end of the Red Sea, to bring back and plant incense trees on the approach to her temple in the hope of generating a local product. Although the jury is still out on whether she was successful in eliminating the need for imports but consider her efforts at home grown gifts and make do and mend this Christmas …..
    After all that decorating and making, raise a glass or indeed a flask depending on how hard it’s been of which we have many to contemplate in the collection,

    A glass pilgrim flask.  UC22057. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

    A glass pilgrim flask. UC22057. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

    to the god of restorative power Inheret the name means ‘he who brings back the distant goddess’ and  restores  the eye of the sun-god.

    And lets face it we could all do with a bit of solar action at this dark time of year and marvel at the spirit of Christmas whilst casting you eye over the many amulets -the Eye of Horus being a firm favourite warding off malicious spirits (might that be the one too many mulled wines ) and physical forces (horrendous last minute dash round the shops on Christmas eve)…

    An eye of Horus in a ring design. UC1005. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

    An eye of Horus in a ring design. UC1005. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

    So armed with a tile or two , a jar of best incense, a full flask and clutching an amulet I wish you all the best this festive time !

     

    Helen Pike is a Public Programmer at the Petrie Museum, our full listings can be read here: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/petrie/whats-on

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