LECTURE: An Intriguing Mechanical Figure from Ancient Egypt (MMA 58.36) Find us
Date: Thursday, November 8, 2012 5:30 p.m.
Presenter: Dr Nicholas Reeves, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC
Location: University of Arizona Book Store in the Student Union Memorial Center, 1209 E. University Blvd., Tucson, Az., 85721. (Speedway Blvd. to Mountain Ave., south on Mountain Ave. Student Union is straight ahead, and a parking garage to the left.). Call 520-621-2814 for more information.
This lecture is free and open to the public.
Description: Tucked away in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Egyptian Study Room is a small, beautifully carved wooden statuette, MMA 58.36. The subject is female, anonymous, and naked except for a heavy, shoulder-length wig.
Quite exceptionally for an Egyptian work of art, the lady takes care to preserve her modesty behind a strategically placed right hand. It is a coyness more apparent than real: for MMA 58.36 had been made not as a static image, but as a primitive automaton. At the simple pull of a string, the figure's hands were designed to lift and reveal her feminine charms in full.
What is this extraordinary piece? Who does it represent? How is it to be dated, and how was it used? Are we here dealing with an immensely sophisticated fake, as some have previously thought? Or is this sculpture genuine, and in fact one of the most extraordinary objects in the Metropolitan Museum's rich holdings of Egyptian art?
About the Speaker: Nicholas Reeves is Lila Acheson Wallace Associate Curator of Egyptian Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; he was previously GAD Tait Curator of Egyptian and Classical Art at Eton College in England.
INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF MUSEUMS
The International Council of Museums, in an effort to fight against illicit traffic in cultural goods, compiles the Emergency Red List of Egyptian Cultural Objects at Risk. This list aims to help art and heritage professionals and law enforcement officials identify Egyptian objects that are protected by national and international legislations. View the Red List for Egypt.