Monday, June 22, 2015

Ancient Egypt this week: Isis to Osiris, Engineering Feats, Egyptian Blue, Recovered statue, Valley of Kings at Night, Rare Shroud, Tut-inspired jewelry, Papyrus discovery, and Pyramids from Space


Helsinki theatre changes name from Isis to Osiris
Is a name change a sign of surrender by an organisation whose name has been co-opted by a ruthless jihadist group? That question has been pondered by at least two Finnish firms.

Nine Engineering Feats of Ancient Egypt

In short:
The Great Pyramid of Giza
The Egyptian System of Measurement
The Tubular Drill
The Sphinx
The Ancient Egyptian Cutting Tools
The Granite and Basalt Boxes
The Statue of Ramses II at Memphis
The Statue of Ramses II at Luxor
The Egyptian Lathe


Egyptian Blue – The Oldest Known Artificial Pigment

Egyptian Blue, also known as calcium copper silicate, is one of the first artificial pigments used by man. The oldest known example of the exquisite pigment is said to be about 5000 years old. It was found in a tomb painting from the reign of Ka-Sen, the last pharaoh of the First Dynasty.

Egypt recovers 2,700-year-old statue from auction house in Germany

Egypt stopped the sale of a 2,700 year-old Egyptian statue that was put up for sale in a Germany-based auction hall. The statue was stolen from the storerooms of the Antiquities Ministry in Aswan’s Elephantine Island, which were looted in 2013.

For more information, see this article in the Cairo Post.

THE VALLEY OF THE KINGS OPENING AT NIGHT

A whole new way to experience the New Kingdom pharaohs' sacred burial ground., or as one of the original visitors might have said, "I, Philastrios the Alexandrian, who have come to Thebes, and who have seen with my eyes the Colossi, and the work of these tombs of astounding horror, have spent a delightful day."

Rare ancient Egyptian shroud in first-of-kind auction in Paris

A rare ancient Egyptian burial cloth, more than 3,000 years old, is to go under the hammer in Paris. Such artifacts are usually found only in museum collections.

The small square of vividly painted fabric is among roughly 20 known to exist in the world. The majority are on display at museums like the Louvre and the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.



The King Tut–Inspired Gemstones Even Museums Can’t Afford

It couldn’t have been easy to stand out among all the flapper fringe of the Roaring 20s, but Linda Lee Porter, wife of the iconic Broadway composer Cole Porter, pulled it off with a belt buckle.

Mrs. Porter commissioned Cartier to create a scarab-beetle-shaped buckle brooch (on the far right) inspired by the ancient Egyptian treasures unearthed from King Tutankhamen’s tomb three years earlier in 1923. Unlike costume-jewelry copycats  and even fine pieces imitating the loot from the boy king’s tomb, hers was made from actual ancient Egyptian artifacts—namely, faience (glazed ceramic, often blue-green) culled from Louis Cartier’s collection. For good measure, Cartier set it with diamonds and sapphires in the fresh art-deco style of the time.

Ancient papyrus texts discovered

A valuable collection of ancient Egyptian papyrus manuscripts has been discovered in the University of Basel’s library after being forgotten for more than a century.  The 2,000-year-old texts, written in Greek, Latin, Coptic Egyptian and hieratic, were acquired by the university 115 years ago but were subsequently overlooked.


The coolest thing on Twitter?

A message from Nasa Astronaut Terry W. Virts:

It took me until my last day in space to get a good picture of these!