I’m a big believer in finishing a book and passing it on…luckily so are many of my friends and relatives. Most recently my mother sent me home with The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips. Though I couldn’t make it though Phillips’ first novel, Prague, I devoured this one, his second, published in 2004. He’s written two more novels since (Fun fact: he’s also a 5-time Jeopardy champion!). Long story short, I’ve always been fascinated by Ancient Egypt and this book is a clever and complex tale of exploration, deceit, mystery and…sex (the story is centered around a XVIIIth Dynasty Egyptian King, Atum-hadu, with an insatiable sexual appetite and penchant for erotic poetry).
So…my mind’s all mummies and deserts, when I catch word of the Museum of Fine Art’s newest exhibition, “The Secrets of Tomb 10A: Egypt 2000 BC,” featuring the findings of an MFA archaeological dig in 1915. The MFA team discovered a tomb, donned Tomb 10A, and inside, the largest burial assemblage of the Middle Kingdom (2040-1640 BC) ever found. The burial site of the rich Egyptian governor Djehutynakhts and his wife, grave robbers had looted the tomb before the MFA stumbled upon it, removing all of the valuable jewels. However, remaining were almost 60 beautifully carved model boats (to carry the Governor to the afterlife), canopic jars, miniatures of cattle and servants, and…the mummy’s head. Also, the caskets remained with some of the most elaborately and artistically rendered scenes of Egyptian afterlife rituals. Literature comes to life…or, the opposite! Literally, the skin on the mummy’s embalmed and preserved skull is still intact—eeeew—though the MFA did partner with Massachusetts General Hospital and featured in the exhibition are the incredible MRI scans evaluating the mummy’s remains and the processes of mummification (think hole in the base of the skull and through the nose).
I caught a sneak peek of the exhibit last week, and it opened to the public on October 18. Though I’m all for a cheesy costume party to scare up the Halloween spirit, why not take a more sophisticated approach to celebrating the Day of the Dead and — in the case of the Ancient Egyptians — the Immortal.
Posted by Sam