The special exhibition Ancient Egypt Transformed: The Middle Kingdom opens at the Met on October 12, 2015. By exploring the least known of ancient Egypt’s three great kingdoms, it illuminates the profound changes that Egypt underwent during a cultural flowering that lasted almost four hundred years, from about 2030 to 1650 B.C.
This exciting exhibition presents powerful and compelling works of art rendered with subtlety and sensitivity, from monumental stone sculptures to delicate jewelry. In celebration, our buyers have assembled an array of Egypt-inspired items and exclusive commissions produced only for The Met Store.
Among the precious objects on view are luxurious broad collars, a type of jewelry most frequently depicted worn by royalty and the elite in ancient Egypt, such as the collar of Lady Senebtisi shown below, which was discovered by the Metropolitan Museum’s excavators in 1907. This regal adornment is re-imagined in our popular woman’s top and is also recalled by some of our contemporary jewelry.
Also in the exhibition is Egyptian faience, a ceramic material made of ground quartz, which appears in many guises, from jewelry inlays and vessels to animal figurines. Small faience hippos, a fearsome animal, may have been used in tombs as magical protectors of the dead, or to provide the deceased with a connection to an eternal natural world. Their bright blue color suggests youth, vigor, and regeneration.
A faience hippo in the Met’s collection (above) is painted with the outlines of river plants, symbolizing the marshes in which the animal lived. Since its arrival in 1917, this statuette has been a favorite with Museum visitors and for years has been known as “William.” He has inspired a host of singular items, from a ceramic bank to a cuddly plush toy.
Our exclusive collaboration with the Vancouver-based design studio Banquet Atelier & Workshop produced a collection of playful designs, including the vivid screen-printed Egyptology Poster shown above and the Lotus Flower Tote, below. These lighthearted prints and accessories feature timeless themes and symbols, from the Egyptian god Horus and goddess Isis to the lotus flower, a symbol of rebirth ubiquitous in Middle Kingdom art. Just right for today’s stylish Egyptologist.