Gods, Heroes, and Monsters: Egypt
Surrounded by desert, the Nile River valley evolved largely free of the influence of other civilizations in the ancient Near East for thousands of years. This relative isolation enabled the Egyptian religion, comprised of a diverse pantheon of gods and goddesses, to evolve as not only free from influence of other cultures, but also as a complex system of worship and ritual suited for the particular ebb and flow of life in the Nile River valley. In the interpretation of ancient Egyptian Art, one quickly senses the immense importance of the Egyptian pantheon to ancient Egyptian society. In this society, the Pharaoh reigned as intercessor in negotiating with the gods a dynamic balance of chaos and its opposite ma’at—truth, balance, and order. Therefore, in researching and presenting a selection of these formidable gods and goddesses, this exhibition seeks to elucidate the indelible role of each upon both ancient Egyptian society and Art. In lieu of traditional encyclopedic entries, this exhibition examines the character of each god and goddess through the analysis of an ancient work of art that includes his or her likeness. Thus these works, crafted long ago by unknown artists, reveal the great devotion, ritual and myth of ancient Egypt—before her capture and conversion by the West.
Introduction composed by all members of the Egypt exhibition group