Ancient Egyptian Art

1 Jan 2000 — 1 Jan 2020 at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, United States

Ancient Egyptian Art. Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
Ancient Egyptian Art. Courtesy of Brooklyn Museum
17 MAY 2017

Our collection of ancient Egyptian art, one of the largest and finest in the United States, is renowned throughout the world. The galleries for this unparalleled collection have been reorganized and reinstalled.

The ancient Egyptians were an indigenous African people who first appeared in the southern (Upper Egypt) Nile Valley by 4500 B.C.E. and spread northward to Lower Egypt. Joined over five thousand years by other Africans from Nubia and Libya, as well as Semites, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, their distinctly multicultural society produced an astonishing array of objects and structures.

Egypt is the oldest continuously documented civilization on the African continent, and our collection, begun in 1902, tells the story of its art from its earliest known origins until the Roman period.

Our Egyptian galleries contain more than 1,200 objects that include sculpture, relief, paintings, pottery, and papyri. On view are such treasures as a wooden and gilded statuette of Amunhotep III, an exquisite chlorite head of a Middle Kingdom princess, an early stone deity from 2650 B.C.E., a relief from the tomb of a man named Akhty-hotep, and a highly abstract female terracotta statuette created over five thousand years ago.

The Mummy Chamber is a special section that explores the rituals related to mummification and the Egyptian belief that the body must be preserved to ensure eternal life. On view are the elaborately decorated coffin and mummy board of the mayor of Thebes, Pasebakhaienipet; wall reliefs from the tomb of the vizier Nespeqashuty; several mummies; and a nearly twenty-five-foot-long Book of the Dead scroll.