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Egypt’s Magnificent Middle Kingdom

The second great era of ancient Egyptian culture was a transformational period of remarkable prosperity and unparalleled change

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.

King head1 KP

Head of a King, Possibly Seankhkare Mentuhotep III, Dynasty 11, reign of Mentuhotep III, ca. 2000–1988 B.C., limestone

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.

Egyptology Poster

Our new hand screen-printed Egyptology Poster was created expressly 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.


Broad collar of Senebtisi, Dynasty 12, late–early 13, ca. 1850–1775 B.C., faience, gold, carnelian, turquoise

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.


Figure of a Hippopotamus, aka “William,” Dynasty 12, first half, ca. 1961–1878 B.C., faience

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.


The Lotus Flower Tote was designed for us by Banquet Atelier & Workshop

The exhibition is on view through January 24, 2016. Please stop by the exhibition shop or explore our full range here.

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