Friday, December 12, 2008
Going to Babylon
This weekend I'm visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a number of our Coven members. I'm particularly excited about the "Beyond Babylon" exhibit. There was a good review of it in the NYTimes entitled "Global Exchange, Early Version". From the article, something I'm really looking forward to seeing:
"...a ceramic goddess with wings and talons for feet is an exuberant arrival from cultural sources unknown...Referred to by archaeologists as “The Queen of the Night,” she is so hybrid a creation that she was at one time labeled a fake. She is now considered authentic, but authentically what is the question..."
A good portion of the exhibit focus on the remarkable artifacts recovered from a ship wreck:
...For a truly cornucopian example of multiculturalism, though, nothing matches the contents of the Late Bronze Age merchant ship recovered from the sea off the southern coast of Turkey...it probably sank around 1300 B.C., packed with cargo representing a dozen cultures, from Nubia to the Balkans...Although the ship’s home port is unknown, it appears to have traveled a circular route through the Mediterranean and Aegean, stopping in Greece, Crete, Turkey, Syria and Egypt, picking up and unloading as it went. Bulk materials included copper ingots, Cypriot pottery, African wood and Near Eastern textiles, all for waiting markets...Divers also found luxury items, possibly personal possessions of the ship’s crew and passengers. Examples of ivory containers in the form of ducks have parallels with Egyptian prototypes, but were probably made in Mediterranean Asia. The two sources merge in a figure found in a tomb: a nude female swimmer with a chic, Nile-style pageboy who is hitching a ride behind an ivory-headed bird...
Follow the link for the NYTimes article for a pic of the swimmer and her bird friend.